Birdtown Jamboree set for September but with restricted attendance

Local country music band Small Town Girls, consisting of (clockwise from front left) Hannah Van Maele, Delaney Blake, Haley Van Maele, Jillian Van Daalen and Cassie Van Maele, will be playing at The Birdtown Jamboree in September. Submitted

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Birdtown Jamboree 2020 is moving forward, with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

The 16th annual event, formerly known as Cornstock, will be slightly different from what attendees are used to.

The typical multi-day event sees “several thousand” people through the gates, said Sara Moody Veldhuis, media liaison for the event. This year, the condensed event taking place in one afternoon will be host to a maximum of 100 attendees.

Moody Veldhuis said conversations among organizers leading up to the decision to move forward included ensuring it would be possible to keep everyone safe while following the government’s COVID-19 guidelines.

“There’s five acts of amazing, amazing young local talent,” said Moody Veldhuis. “All have come through the Cornstock festival as they’ve been growing up and becoming musicians. The festival just wanted to encourage these young musicians to have an opportunity to perform for an audience as they continue on with their young careers.”

Musical performances will be provided by Hannah Dolson, The Valedictorians, Amber Banks, Nolan Gibson, and The Small Town Girls.

“The five acts that are on are just incredible young musicians and that’s what Cornstock was always about,” said Moody Veldhuis. “Musicians have donated their time over the past 15 years to support giving back to the community.”

Dolson, who grew up attending Cornstock, began performing at the event about five years ago.

“It’s my first time performing live during this pandemic, so I’m definitely approaching it cautiously,” she said. “It will be interesting if the attendance gets to 100 because that will have to be the biggest crowd I’ve been in since like last year.”

The musician said she feels safe with the protocols being put in place by the organizers.

“Overall, I’m excited to see how a shorter Birdtown Jamboree plays out, and I can’t wait to see what it’s like at the new location.”

Homegrown Hideaway, adjacent to the Lynn Valley Trail in Port Dover, will be the site of this year’s event.

In addition to the music, a silent auction for painted guitars will be available. Those that are unable to get tickets are still welcomed to drive by to see the guitars and place bids.

Safety protocols in place will include hand sanitizing stations, social distancing, masks encouraged, and a list of ticket buyers at the door to keep track of how many people are at the venue at any given time.

Proceeds from the event are donated to local children’s music and arts initiatives.

Tickets went on sale Aug. 14. There are only 100 tickets available.

The event takes place on Sept. 12 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 

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