When COVID forced the organizers of the first ever Earl Scruggs Music Festival to postpone the event to 2021, they figured there was nothing they could do. But following successful drive-in concerts in the US and Europe, and a well received first drive-in concert with Darin & Brooke Aldridge, we’re proud to announce that we can bring some of the magic of the Earl Scruggs Music Festival to live audiences on Saturday, September 5. The concert is part of WNCW’s “Summer Outback Opry” concerts and will be held “out back” of The Foundation Performing Arts Center on Isothermal Community College’s campus in Spindale, North Carolina.
Festival artists Chatham County Line, Dom Flemons, and Anna Lynch will perform live with social distancing on stage, and the audience will be cozy in their own cars, separated by at least ten feet of distance. Artists will be amplified from the stage, and admission will be per-vehicle, with a limited number allowed to maintain social distancing. There will be no concessions on site, and attendees will be encouraged to pack a picnic or pick up food from Spindale’s local restaurants. Drone footage from WNCW’s previous Outback Opry drive-in concert shows the feasibility of this kind of event given the large parking lot behind the College’s performing arts center.
"The Scruggs Festival Team is really appreciative of WNCW and Isothermal Community College for making this event happen on what would have been day 2 of our festival this year, had we not had to reschedule,” says Artistic Director Steve Johnson. “We’re really grateful that all the artists have been so accommodating and understanding and that Chatham County Line, Dom, and Anna could help bring a little of next year's festival through the time machine for this year."
It’s an innovative solution for a hard problem, and might even be a path forward for festivals looking to bring live music back, if only for one evening. “We were really excited to be invited to the first annual Earl Scruggs Festival this year,” says Dave Wilson of Chatham County Line, “and will lament its delay yet celebrate its intent with our performance at the Sept 5th WNCW Outback Opry Drive-In Concert. For the young musician, Earl Scruggs represents the pinnacle of musical achievement, a musician that through practice, determination and imagination escaped the boundaries of his instrument and forged an entirely new sound.”
The inaugural Earl Scruggs Music Festival is now scheduled for September 4-5, 2021.