July Mini Fest took place this past weekend at Ringle, WI’s Q&Z Expo Center to mixed results. On one hand, the event, formerly known as Herd Immunity Fest, featured three successful days of outdoor music, while on the other it landed well below the guidelines large, outdoor gatherings during the ongoing pandemic.
The hard rock and nu metal festival originally drew ire on the internet last month when it was branded as “Herd Immunity Fest” online. In a PR rescue mission, the event was renamed July Mini Fest, though the damage had already been done as headliner Nonpoint dropped out and the event was panned across the country. Regardless of online outrage, promoters were still able to find bands to fill the lineup and fans to fill the outdoor lawn.
The event featured performances from Static-X, Nonpoint, Dope, Royal Bliss, Blacktop Mojo, a reunion show by Bobaflex, as well as Adelitas Way (who took over Nonpoint’s headlining spot), Sponge, Beyond Threshold, The Night Crawlers, and more.
While July Mini Fest was technically held in accordance with Wisconsin statutes regarding public gatherings, it was reported by Stereogum that local officials only learned of the festival’s occurrence from The View. Despite backlash from local residents and Marathon County Board members, the show went on as promoters promised to encourage stringent social distancing protocols.
On Saturday, the venue posted a pair of photos from the event (one of which was taken from outside the festival gates), bragging about the attendees’ compliance with regulations and calling out “the BS media.” Meanwhile, Friday night headliner Sponge was interviewed by The Oakland Press, where frontman Vinnie Dombroski noted that of the 750 to 1,000 attendants that he saw, many were not wearing masks, though some were distanced.
“It seems like social distancing has gotten to be the norm,” Dombroski said. “If it was a family, they stood together, but people were in rows and it seems like people are getting sort of programmed — ‘OK, I’m gonna stand six feet away from somebody else.’ I was surprised to see that being so natural to folks. There was no mosh pit or trying to get up close to the band.”
While promoters advertised that they would cap attendance at 2,500 people, at a venue that normally holds 10,000, it seems as though capping attendance was never an issue. Scroll down to see fan-shot photos and videos from July Mini Fest.
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