Festival of Bells cancelled


Officials say large crowds are a health concern

By Jeff Gilliland - jgilliland@timesgazette.com



This scene from a past Festival of the Bells in uptown Hillsboro shows the crowd at a Christian concert.

This scene from a past Festival of the Bells in uptown Hillsboro shows the crowd at a Christian concert.


Times-Gazette file photo

The Festival of the Bells Committee, the city of Hillsboro and the Highland County Health Department released a statement Wednesday saying 2021 Festival of the Bells in Hillsboro has been cancelled due to COVID-19 health concerns.

“Currently, it is too difficult to provide a safe event for the community, guests, artists and vendors,” the statement said. “The potential for a large crowd in a confined area is a health concern. This decision was made with heavy hearts, but with the best intentions in mind for all involved. Efforts will focus on a strong comeback for the 2022 Festival of the Bells.

Festival chairman Rick Williams said plans are for the 2022 festival to be held in uptown Hillsboro, its traditional location. After two years of being held at Southern State Community College, the plan was for the festival to return to the uptown area a year ago before it was cancelled due to the virus.

When officials announced in May of last year that the 2020 festival was being cancelled, Williams said the entertainers scheduled for 2020 had agreed to return for this year. Those entertainers were country music artists Caylee Hammack and Matt Sell along with Christian musician Jordan Feliz.

Williams said Wednesday that he had no idea whether those artists would be available again next year or if new entertainment will need to be scheduled.

He said no further information was being released at this time.

Celebrated each year around the Fourth of July, the Festival of the Bells is an outgrowth of a successful 1976 bicentennial celebration of the country’s founding. It has attracted artists in the past including Brad Paisley, Joe Diffie, Rascal Flats, Dierks Bentley, Trick Pony, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Julianne Hough, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry and Parmalee.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

This scene from a past Festival of the Bells in uptown Hillsboro shows the crowd at a Christian concert.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/04/web1_FOB-pic-3.jpgThis scene from a past Festival of the Bells in uptown Hillsboro shows the crowd at a Christian concert. Times-Gazette file photo
Officials say large crowds are a health concern

By Jeff Gilliland

jgilliland@timesgazette.com