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Sisters Folk Festival sells out – again – despite vaccine requirement

(Update: Adding comment from festival staff)

Festival hasn't been held two of past four years.

SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The tents are going up. The stages are being set. And the 2021 Sisters Folk Festival is on.

Operations manager Dave Ehle told NewsChannel 21 Thursday, “It’s always a big crunch, there’s a lot going.”

Part of the challenge is lack of practice.

“We haven’t done the folk festival for two years now, so we're trying to remember how to do this,” Ehle joked.

The festival was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, and in 2017 because of wildfire smoke. It’s back now, two weeks later than in the past (to avoid that smoke), among other changes.

Crista Munro, executive director of the festival, said, “We went with this vaccination requirement in response to many of our preforming artists who were starting to cancel tours and getting nervous about touring.”

While there’s no requirement for social distancing, the Folk Fest is still following all local mandates, and organizers are also saying: If you want, you can lay a coat down on the chair next to you, to make some space between you and anyone else who might be at the festival.

Munro says about 500 ticket-holders requested refunds after the vaccine requirement was announced. But not all for the reason you’d think.

“Not everyone who requested a refund did so because they weren’t vaccinated,” she said. “Many of those folks were still concerned about attending a large event.”

All of the seven venues throughout the city are outdoors, and the capacity was reduced to 75 percent. 

But setting up the extra outdoor space isn't a concern.

"We have a really good crew of volunteers that helps get this done for us, and we're having a lot of fun," Ehle said.

Come show time, it will be even more fun.

Munro said when they made the vaccine requirement announcement last month, they were sold out.

Even after the refunds, the festival sold again.

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.


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