CANSO: Although not on the scale of previous years, organizers of the 2022 Stan Rogers Folk Festival say they will be back this summer.
Stanfest Artistic Director Troy Greencorn said they remain confident in their ability to go ahead with their 25th year after the 2020 festival was cancelled and hopes for a return in 2021 were dashed.
“I think we’re still operating on hope somewhat, but this time, with a lot more confidence that we’re at a point in the pandemic where society is just moving forward. It seems that everything will be a go for the summer,” he said. “Part of it is, those restrictions need to lift, in order to be able to do the festival but you also need the public to be in a mindset where they’re comfortable to go to events and to gather.”
Greencorn said organizers used the two years constructively by offering online concerts, partnering on events, publishing a book, and other ways of staying connected to audiences.
Carolyn Dawn Johnson and George Canyon are headlining the event. Although it will be updated regularly, to date the Stanfest line-up includes: Catherine MacLellan; Madison Violet; Dave Gunning; Bruce Guthro; J.P. Cormier; Kim Dunn; Lennie Gallant; James Keelaghan; Mary Gauthier; Tony McManus; Dee Dee Austin; Reeny Smith; Slowcoaster; the Town Heroes; Beolach; Rachel Davis & Darren McMullen; The Sanctified Brothers; Men of The Deeps; Twin Flames; The Lee Boys; FRÄNDER; Horsebath; and Inn Echo.
“Pretty much weekly, for the next couple of weeks, we’ll be making follow-up announcements. There’ll be some additions to the line-up,” he noted. “This is stuff usually we’re announcing in June but this year, we want to put it out early so that people can plan.”
This year, Greencorn said they will sell a maximum of 1,500 weekend passes, in addition to day passes.
“We’re limiting the size of the event, and we’re doing that for a couple of reasons; one we want the folks who are attending to feel safe,” he said. “Also we want the community to feel comfortable. It’s not the year to bring 3,000 or 5,000 people into the community so we’ve made a very conscious decision to be a smaller event this year, and to grow back from there. I think a lot of events are hoping to break attendance records this year; we’re kind of doing the opposite.”
The daytime program will focus on three larger stages, one of which will be the mainstage, and the organizers said shows will take place on the mainstage from 10 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. each day with over 30 hours of concerts on the three stages.
“We’ve made some changes to fit that smaller audience,” noted Greencorn. “All day, there’ll be shows on the main stage, and then there’ll be other stages happening at various times in the day. With a smaller event, we feel that makes great sense, and people will love that; to see the shows on the big stage and that has people sitting outside with lots of space.”
Last year, it was “very clear” the community wasn’t ready for thousands of people, but judging from the demand for tickets, Greencorn added that this year is different.
“This year all the signals are everybody is just ready to move on. We all have confidence that we’re at a point in this whole situation, especially with an outdoor event, it could be very safely done,” he added. “I really think it would be an extreme last resort for outdoor events to be heavily impacted. I think, at this point, we might see some additional restrictions but I don’t think we would ever reach a go-no-go decision again.”