The Ashcroft Wellness and Music Festival is down, but not yet out.
The future of the Festival was discussed at a meeting on Feb. 11, with nine participants mulling over various prospects for the event. At the start of the meeting it looked as if the Festival, which would have been going into its fourth year, would be cancelled altogether in 2016, as it was not going to continue operating under the auspices of Community Futures (Sun Country), no fundraising has been done, and last year’s chair Deb Tuohey said she could not chair the event again this year.
Cancellation of the event would mean cancelling the booking for singer/entertainer Steve Elliott—“Elvis Elite”—who has already been asked to take part in the Festival (scheduled for July 16). It would also affect the popular Kids’ Tryathlon, set to take place on the same day.
The committee has enough funds to pay for Elliott, but Jessica Clement noted that trying to raise the rest of the money needed in just five months was too big a task. She suggested taking a year off and trying to regroup; an idea seconded by Jack Jeyes. “We can see how much people miss it.”
Christopher Roden, noting the popularity of Elliott, wondered if there was still the possibility of getting him here this summer. Deanna Horsting, who organized a very successful Children’s Festival in Ashcroft last August and is planning another one this year, suggested that this year’s Children’s Festival could be moved to July 16, to coincide with the Tryathlon. It was then agreed that Elliott could provide two sets of music during the event, as well as do his well-attended Gospel session on Sunday morning, with his appearance sponsored by the Wellness and Music Festival.
The solution was hailed as an example of different groups working together to find a solution, and will also give the Music and Wellness Festival a year in which to take stock and determine its future. “I’m happy with that,” said Tuohey. “It’s a weight off my shoulders.”
Horsting will be taking the proposal to a meeting about the Children’s Festival on Feb. 22, for it to be formally approved, but agrees it’s a good idea. “I’m excited about it; I think it will be really great.”