Just two days after the Oneida County Public Safety Committee voted to approve the permit for the 43rd Hodag Country Music Festival in Rhinelander, officials have now backtracked and postponed the event until 2021.
The Festival had been scheduled for July 9-12 and the permit was originally approved with a long list of conditions. Backlash from some community members and an apparent division in the Rhinelander community was cited in the decision.
“The possibility of having the Hodag Country Festival has created stress and division in the Rhinelander area, and we are sincerely apologetic for this,” a statement from the event organizers read. “It was never our intent, the Festival has always been about community. We have been here for 43 years and always supported the Northwoods area, Hodag hopes we can continue to have your support in the future.”
The event has been rescheduled to July 8-11, 2021.
“Although our entertainers, vendors and many Festival-goers were still hoping to participate in this year’s Festival, we feel the safety of our community is more important,” the statement also said. “We are looking forward to next year and are already working on another awesome lineup. Darius Rucker and many of the same other artists will be there, and we hope to see you too, until then stay safe and healthy.”
Several online petitions against holding the event had circulated on social media and garnered a number of signatures, including a change.org petition which had 5,881 signatures as of 8:30 a.m. Thursday.