The Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA) has today announced the cancelation of its signature event, the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival, which was to be held Jul. 31-Aug. 1, 2020 at Peoples Natural Gas Park.
“We waited to make this decision as long as we could, hoping for more clarity on when large gatherings like concerts and festivals would be possible – but at this point, no one knows, and we cannot continue in a holding pattern,” said Ron Carnevali, festival chairman. “It is now time to let our patrons, sponsors, volunteers, and artists know that the 2020 festival is canceled. We are deeply disappointed, as we’d done a great deal of planning and were even ready to announce a lineup.”
“As an organization that is committed to the economic vitality of the communities we serve, we too, had hoped the festival would go on as planned,” said Jeff Stopko, president and CEO of AmeriServ Financial, Inc. “However, it’s important to do what’s right to ensure the safety and protection of our residents and visitors. This pandemic has certainly proven that it is not business as usual and we must be patient and do what’s right to be able to move beyond this in a planned and orderly manner. We look forward to once again sponsoring the festival in 2021 and joining with community and JAHA leaders to bring visitors back to our great city.”
In addition to the potential health risks, Carnevali pointed to challenges related to sponsorship support and selling advance tickets.
“Our sponsors are the lifeblood of the event and have been incredibly supportive, but many of them are feeling the financial effects of this crisis,” Carnevali said. “And in the current climate, it would be extremely difficult to sell advance tickets.”
Other major local and regional events that have canceled include Thunder in the Valley (Johnstown), Three Rivers Arts Festival (Pittsburgh), Deutschtown Music Festival (Pittsburgh), Central PA Festival of the Arts (State College), Delfest (Cumberland, MD), and many others.
If the all-clear is given for larger events, JAHA hopes to hold a concert at Peoples Natural Gas Park in September 2020.
“We don’t yet know if this will be possible, but it’s something to hope for,” Carnevali said. “And we have every intention of bringing the festival back in 2021.”