A signature musical event in Johnstown will not be held this summer.
On Friday, Johnstown Area Heritage Association announced the cancellation of its AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival, which was to be held July 31 through Aug. 1 at Peoples Natural Gas Park in downtown Johnstown.
Ron Carnevali, festival chairman, said the committee waited to make the decision, hoping for more clarity on when large gatherings such as concerts and festivals would be possible.
“At this point, no one knows, and we cannot continue in a holding pattern,” he said.
“It is now time to let our patrons, sponsors, volunteers and artists know that the 2020 festival is canceled. We are deeply disappointed, as we have done a great deal of planning and were even ready to announce a lineup.”
Jeff Stopko, president and CEO of AmeriServ Financial Inc., said as an organization that is committed to the economic vitality of the communities its serves, they had hoped the festival would go on as planned.
“It’s important to do what’s right to ensure the safety and protection of our residents and visitors,” he said.
“This pandemic has certainly proven that it is not business as usual and we must be patient and do what’s right to be able to move beyond this in a planned and orderly manner. We look forward to once again sponsoring the festival in 2021 and joining with community and JAHA leaders to bring visitors back to our great city.”
Along with potential health risks, Carnevali pointed to challenges related to sponsorship support and selling advance tickets.
“Our sponsors are the lifeblood of the event and have been incredibly supportive, but many of them are feeling the financial effects of this crisis,” he said.
“And in the current climate, it would be extremely difficult to sell advance tickets.”
Carnevali said if the all-clear is given for larger events, JAHA hopes to hold a concert at Peoples Natural Gas Park in September.
“We don’t yet know if this will be possible, but it’s something to hope for,” he said.
“And we have every intention of bringing the festival back in 2021.”
ArtsFest also off
On Friday, the board of directors of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts announced the cancellation of the July event due to public health concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was reached after the board consulted with officials at the state Department of Health, State College Borough and Penn State University.
This is the first time in the festival’s 54-year history that it will not take place.
Festival staff will be working to present artists and musicians in a virtual festival in early July.
“We’re a resilient organization and community,” said Renata Engel, board president of CPFA.
“While this is a disappointment at the moment, the arts festival team is already turning its focus toward engaging artists, entertainers and volunteers in new ways during this unprecedented time.
“We look forward to using our creativity and collaboration to design and deliver memorable and engaging experiences for our audience this year, while continuing to support the safety and health of our community.”
Organizers plan to hold the festival in 2021.