DelFest reschedule decision expected next week

CUMBERLAND — DelFest organizers made the decision Wednesday to officially cancel the 2020 festival.

The decision came following a meeting held via video conferencing with officials from Gov. Larry Hogan's office, Allegany County and the McCoury family.

An announcement came in early April that the annual Memorial Day weekend event wouldn't be held due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, but organizers held out hope they might be able to reschedule the event in August or September. However, a decision was made Wednesday to cancel the event and bring the festival back on Memorial Day weekend 2021.

The Times-News spoke to Del McCoury and sons Ronnie and Rob by telephone after the meeting.

"We just decided, for the safety of everyone involved, we better look at 2021, Memorial Day weekend," Ronnie McCoury said. "Nothing is more important than family and the safety of everyone really. If we don't feel safe and secure in having a festival and bringing our families into the situation, we couldn't feel right asking other people into something that we are a little worried about."

The McCoury family participated in the conference from their home in Nashville.

"We were shooting for the last weekend in August," said Ronnie McCoury. "But even at this point, that is not that far down the road. Things are so uncertain you don't know when (the virus) could spike and start climbing again. Having so many people coming into the county like that is probably not a safe thing."

Local officials at Wednesday's meeting were Allegany County commissioners Creade Brodie Jr., Jake Shade and Dave Caporale. Also present were Interim County Administrator Jason Bennett and former administrator Brandon Butler. Mark Widmyer, the Western Maryland field representative from Gov. Hogan's office and Wendi W. Peters, Maryland special secretary of smart growth, were also present.

"We got word from the governor's office that (forgoing fall 2020) was the outcome the governor himself was looking for," Ronnie McCoury said. "If we did try to proceed ahead, he couldn't give us a date because no one knows how this thing is going. We thought we better put safety first."

Ronnie and Rob McCoury perform in The Travelin' McCourys as well as with their father in the Del McCoury Band.

"People are coming from all over the United States," said Del McCoury. "You don't know what they are bringing into Allegany County. There are so many people that come. It is probably not wise to have a big gathering and for the county. Your numbers are down which is great, but if a lot of people come in there, it could change the seen. We will miss everyone. We feel like we have family there and it's a tough decision. We know so many people look forward to it in the area. But it's the safest thing to do."

Ronnie McCoury said the virtual "DelFest at Home" broadcast on YouTube over Memorial Day weekend was a success. The event featured highlight sets from past DelFest shows. He said the streaming received around 1.5 million views.

"People saw it that have never been to DelFest before and they said they want come," said Ronnie McCoury. "We were real happy with it. We will miss everyone this year but we will be back bigger and stronger than ever."

Follow staff writer Greg Larry on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.

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