TRUMANSBURG, N.Y. — Organizers of Grassroots Festival have announced that the 30th-anniversary installment of the festival, set for this summer, will be pushed off to 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rumors swirled Tuesday evening after an email went out to vendors registered for this year’s festival informing them of the changes, though the announcement had not been made to ticket holders or the public yet. A request for comment Wednesday morning directed the Ithaca Voice to the festival’s website, where a video message and letter were posted making the announcement.

“we will postpone the 30th Anniversary Celebration until July 22-25, 2021. Culture Camp is also postponed until July 18 through 21, 2021. The health and safety of everyone (performers, music lovers, vendors & staff) is our primary consideration and supersedes everything else,” reads the letter.

Organizers say that, due to the situation that they have already laid-off staff and taken steps to cut their budget and are turning to the community for their support moving forward.

“Our survival will be a direct result of the understanding and generosity of our friends and fans. We are grateful our community is rich in both,” the letter continues. “This is going to be a tough year for us, and we recognize it may be for you as well. We will all get through this together.”

YouTube video

The decision was made in consultation with Tompkins County public health officials, who agree with the postponement.

“The Health Department supports the proactive decision by the GrassRoots organization to promote social distancing and protect public health by postponing the Summer 2020 festival. This decision is consistent with our current guidance and that of the State to cancel large gatherings that have the potential to increase the spread of COVID-19,” said Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “While it is unknown what the next few months will bring, we know the long-term planning involved with GrassRoots each year and we recognize the sacrifice and disappointment to many in our community who look forward to this annual event.”

The postponement, rather than a cancellation, means that tickets will not be refunded. That does not mean people will be stuck with tickets if they cannot attend. The letter from festival organizers directs those who do not wish to hold onto their tickets until next summer to a Facebook group for ticket trades. The passes will be good for any future Grassroots event, not just next summer. Passes can also be redeemed at the Shakori Hills Festival in North Carolina. Camping passes will automatically be rolled over to next year, according to organizers.

The letter can be read in its entirety, here.

Feature photo by Jacob Mroczek