Organizers of Backwoods at Mulberry Mountain announced on Wednesday that this year’s festival is canceled, as the world grapples with the spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

The gathering, originally slated for June 4th–7th at Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, AR, will now take place in April 2021. In a statement, the festival’s production team stated that they had been watching other events and domestic developments closely, holding out hope, but that “things are getting to close for the safety of our event.” While Backwoods may not be one of the biggest festivals to have been canceled like Coachella or SXSW, which ushered in a flood of other cancelations from smaller events, it marks the first June music festival to announce a cancelation.

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In addition to being one of the first mid-summer festivals to cancel, Backwoods is also a torch-bearer in terms of reconvening in the spring, rather than later this fall or even early next summer. In the press release, festival organizers laid out their reasoning for this decision:

    1. We realize that the fall season is going to be oversaturated with events that have been rescheduled, along with the original already scheduled fall events.  We wanted to make sure everyone can enjoy everything they have already planned for fall, give some breathing space to get back to normal, and not miss out on any other events due to the financial stress this is putting on all of us.
    2. Artists will also be very busy in the fall due to all the rescheduling, and we want to keep the same lineup as much as possible (maybe adding some surprises!) This will give us the best chances for that. 
    3. We believe we will be clearly out of the woods with this crisis by then.
    4. With the CDC recommending no crowds larger than 50 people for the next 8 weeks (until May 10th), this will put us too close to make the call after the 8 week period if we were still needed to postpone due to the virus. Making a call so close to our event is not fair to all of you, our vendors, staff, crew, and other supporters who already may have made plans or blocked their calendars.

The statement noted that specific April dates will be announced soon, and that all tickets purchased for the original June dates will be honored for the rescheduled gathering. Stay tuned to the festival’s Facebook page for up-to-date information regarding rescheduling and refunds. Read the full statement here.