Mayor says canceled Beatles at the Ridge will ‘bounce back’

Updated: Jun. 10, 2020 at 8:46 PM CDT
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WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - The 2020 Beatles at the Ridge music festival is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a media release, the festival was scheduled to take place Sept. 18-19 in Walnut Ridge.

“Safety is the key issue and we would’ve had to have downsized so much that it would’ve not have been the same event,” Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said. “Even though the festival was three months off, this is the time of year when much of the organization takes place, it was time to lock in commitments and sign contracts, so we had to make a decision.”

Mayor Snapp says not having the festival this year will impact not only Walnut Ridge, but all of Northeast Arkansas as well.

He cites concerns due to the coronavirus as a reason for canceling. He says the decision was made in the best interest of the city and those attending. He adds that Walnut Ridge typically sees 2-to-3 times the normal population during the festival, including an increase in traffic with lodging and restaurant.

“A lot of the businesses in the area say it’s the busiest weekend they have all year long," Snapp said. "It’s a big decision when you’re talking about canceling a festival that’s led to the revitalization of the community.”

Snapp mentioned that while it is sad not to be able to host the festival, they will bounce back stronger than ever next year.

Main Street Pizza is newer to Walnut Ridge, but they were busy during the festival last year. Now having to deal with the impact of the festival being canceled in addition to dealing with the economic effects of COVID-19, Manager Jessica Langston says it has been difficult for the restaurant, but she remains hopeful.

“Beatles at the Ridge being canceled isn’t going to affect us more than the COVID has," Langston said. "But we definitely have faith in our community that we’re going to pull together [and] continue to shop local so we can come out of this just as we came into it.”

Mayor Snapp says that while it is disappointing to not have the festival, the city has already begun planning for the next year’s festival.

“We have booked the Liverpool Legends, Lockhouse Orchestra, and TRIPP for Sept. 18, 2021. We’ll have the same great stage, light and sound crew, so we are going to have a super lineup for safer times,” Mayor Snapp said.

For more information about the festival, visit beatlesattheridge.com.

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