FloydFest organizer comments on festival’s cancellation

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 7:58 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Despite a hint of hope, FloydFest 2023 is canceled.

Festival organizers said they are still missing a final permit to work at their new property in Floyd County and were unable to find a suitable replacement venue.

FloydFest organizers said they tried to find another venue that would allow people to park and camp on site since that was promised for 2023.

However, the festival’s Chief Operating Officer Sam Calhoun said the timeline was too short to get all vendors, volunteers and other logistics properly organized for that change.

“I would be lying if I said we’re not going to take a financial hit. Because we will be paying some artists without them having them perform, of course. But that means that we make good on our promises and on contracts we signed,” Calhoun said.

Permit issues with the Department of Environmental Quality caused the festival to make an initial announcement on March 29 saying the festival would not be held at the new site near Check, called FestivalPark.

As of March 30, a DEQ Storm Water Management plan had not been approved to allow a construction permit.

The festival was issued two warning letters, one Jan. 25, 2023 and the second March 6, 2023, due to land disturbing activity happening at the FestivalPark site without a General Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, according to DEQ.

DEQ said festival organizers responded with a letter March 13, 2023 saying no additional land disturbance would happen at the site until authorized.

Additionally, the results of a survey about bog turtles and a habitat assessment in the fall of 2022 caused FloydFest to make changes to its designs at the FestivalPark property, according to DEQ.

Meanwhile Calhoun said festival organizers hired their own environmental firm in 2022 to help them avoid endangering any wildlife.

“I can guarantee you, we’re going above and beyond to protect every endangered species, we have spent a lot of money on the site and design of the site to protect the endangered species, if they were there,” Calhoun said.

The FestivalPark property is expected to be used for FloydFest 2024, and Calhoun said they will keep working at the site once all the appropriate permits are acquired.

Ticketholders have until May 5 if they want to refund their 2023 tickets or have them roll over to 2024. If no decision is made, tickets will automatically be rolled over to the next year.

Calhoun expects to start processing ticket refunds next week.

A little note at the end of Thursday’s cancellation statement did hint at an upcoming announcement from Across the Way Productions, which is the company behind FloydFest. However, there are no additional details or a timeline as to when that announcement could be made.