TYRON, North Carolina (CelebrityAccess) — The Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce has pulled the plug on the 2017 Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival, citing drooping attendance and contractual issues.
According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the decision to cancel the long-running event was proposed during a festival committee meeting on Jan. 18th. The committee's vice chair said attendance at the event had been dropping since its 2011 peak of 17,000, with the 2016 edition of the festival seeing just 7,499 in attendance.
“With the declining attendance coupled with increased potential insurance costs, it became painfully obvious that we needed to take a break and rethink how the festival should continue,” Chamber President Kathy Toomey said, per the Citizen-Times. “For the past three festivals, the financial goals were not met. Despite having excellent media coverage and promotions, the attendance has dropped.
“As a result, the Chamber will now be looking at new fundraising events,” Toomey added. “Our fundraising revenue helps to keep the membership dues as low as possible.”
The Citizen-Times reported that the decision to cancel the festival was also related to ongoing contractual negotiations between the Chamber and Town of Tryon over the use of Harmon Field.
The annual 2-day festival featured country and Americana music, along with a BBQ competition and a classic car show. Performers in 2016 included the Marcus King Band, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, The Steepwater Band, Dead 27s, the Note Ropers and Caroline Express among others. – Staff Writers