If not for COVID-19, downtown Paducah would have been abuzz this weekend as bands from around the country and region played the Lower Town Arts and Music Festival.
Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the annual arts gathering to postpone.
Thursday brought the announcement of new dates for the event — Oct. 2 and 3 — via the festival’s social media channels.
Organizers landed on these fall dates with the advisement of city officials, nestling it between a bevy of other regularly held and rescheduled big events — including Paducah’s QuiltWeek starting Sept. 2, BBQ on the River on Sept. 22-26 and Maiden Alley Cinema’s Oktoberfest on Oct. 17.
Lexie Millikan, executive director of the Yeiser Art Center — the main planning body of the event — is a little nervous about putting a new date down on paper.
“It seemed to be late enough in the year that maybe the threat of COVID-19 will be much lower. But it’s also not so late that it’ll be freezing outside,” Millikan said. “Because of these factors, reschedule dates are very complicated right now.
“I’m definitely excited about the new dates, but of course I’m worried about the challenges and unknowns we’ll face later in the year.”
The festival’s music director, Seth Murphy, worked to secure many of the artists that were originally booked for this year’s LTAMF for the rescheduled date.
“With the new date being nearly six months out, most musicians were able to make it work,” he said. “That being said, a few bands from further away could not make the new date. We decided to fill those spots with local musicians.”
At this point in time, Millikan expects the festival to be a slightly smaller affair than usual.
“The postponed event will probably be slightly scaled back, but we just don’t know the size yet, until we know more about crowd and gathering limitations,” she told The Sun. “Of course the logistics of changing an event of this size a couple months ahead of time are pretty complex.
“So, we’ve done the best we could to have open communication with our artists, musicians, vendors and sponsors and are very thankful for everyone’s patience.”
Millikan and the rest of the festival planners will continue to observe the situation and follow the recommendations of the city and state governments as the new date draws closer.
“It’s painful to work so hard on something and then slowly watch it come apart, through no fault of anyone but a public health crisis,” Millikan said. “So we’re all optimistic about an event later in the year and look forward to coming together as a community to celebrate the creative people in our region.”
For up to date information on the Lower Town Arts and Music Festival, visit lowertownamf.com or check out the event’s social media feeds.