The Festival of the Bells will be returning to Hillsboro for the first time in three years following a two-year COVID-related hiatus, and the festival’s committee along with the City of Hillsboro announced the lineup for this year’s entertainment Wednesday, Feb. 16.
Jordan Feliz, Elvie Shane and Caylee Hammack will be the headlining concert performers at the 2022 Festival of the Bells to be held July 7-9.
While the most recent festivals were held at Southern State Community College, this year’s event will be at a new green space owned by the city on West Main Street in Hillsboro on the site of the former Union Stockyards and Highland Enterprise.
“The city has acquired those properties and plans on turning that into a green space and events center, so it was a kind of obvious place to have the festival and multiple future events,” said Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha.
“We also have some infrastructure projects coming up that could interfere with the bypass routes if we had it in the center of town, so there are multiple reasons behind it, but we’re excited to have it down there and looking forward to having a strong Festival of the Bells coming back this year,” he said.
Rick Williams, the president of the festival committee, said he is excited to welcome the return of the event. “It’s a time for people to come together, kind of like a homecoming, I guess,” he said. “It’s just grown into something large, and it will take place the weekend after the fourth this year. We’ve always had it on the July 4th weekend, but it will be the following Thursday, Friday and Saturday this year.”
Bev Carroll, the vice president of the festival committee, said previous festivals have drawn crowds as large as 17,000 people for the concerts.
“I think the crowds will be large this year, especially Friday night, with the artist [Elvie Shane] being nominated for new male artist of the year,” said Carroll. “Jordan Feliz, who we are having that Saturday night, is well known in contemporary Christian circles, so I think we’ll get a big crowd if the word gets out he’s going to be there.”
The festival committee is able to bring big-name performers to Hillsboro through a long-standing working relationship with a booking agent (Rick Modest) out of West Virginia. “They do an excellent job of locating new and upcoming talent, and we’ve been really successful at having people who are some of the biggest names in the industry,” said Carroll.
The 2022 Festival of the Bells will also include a parade, car show, basketball tournament, and 5K among other events.
“We’re in the planning stages, and we have a lot of events that are on the burner that we are planning, and we will release each of those as we go along and the event gets closer,” she said. “We want to make it bigger and better than ever.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.