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Pleasantville Music Festival a Go for Next July

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The Psychedelic Furs performing at the 2018 Pleasantville Music Festival. The festival is scheduled to return for the first time in three years on July 9.
The Psychedelic Furs performing at the 2018 Pleasantville Music Festival. The festival is scheduled to return for the first time in three years on July 9.

When world-class live rock ‘n’ roll shakes the ground at the Pleasantville Music Festival next summer, audiences will enthusiastically embrace an event they have missed the past two years.

Last week the Pleasantville Village Board approved a resolution authorizing the festival to be held on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at Parkway Field on Marble Avenue. The last festival was held in 2019, which at the time marked 15 consecutive years of the village’s signature event of day-long musical performances.

Due to COVID-19 in 2020 and crowd restrictions last year, the festival had to be canceled.

“As you all know we were COVID-canceled this year, but we’re back,” said Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer after the board unanimously voted in favor last week of holding the festival.

Festival Executive Director Bruce Figler said he expects to receive commitments from bands over the next few months and the final lineup will be announced in the spring.

“Currently we have offers out and we are getting closer to (deciding on) various bands,” said Figler.

Since many groups had to cancel concerts booked over the last two years, some have had time to book other dates.

“Those bands are way ahead of the booking curve,” Figler explained. “But most bands will not be booked until next month, January at the latest.”

Figler noted that some are still on the fence about touring and are concerned that their members might get sick.

The pandemic still looms as the key litmus test when deciding on festival policies. Figler said all rules are subject to change.

“Nothing is set in stone,” he said. “As of today, we are not going to insist on mask-wearing at an outdoor event, but it is possible that if things start ticking up in the community, we might reconsider.”

At this point, festival organizers are considering proof of a COVID vaccination required for entry and to offer free COVID-19 tests to those not vaccinated.

“We are not closing you out if you are not vaccinated,” Figler said. “We will offer the option of getting a rapid test. It keeps the festival inclusive to everyone. We will also be outside where transmittal is much less frequent.”

Some prior festivals, including the 2017 renewal, attracted some 5,000 music fans. Figler said there are currently no plans to cap the number of guests; however, that could be a possibility depending on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the time next summer arrives.

Last year the state revised crowd guidelines that allowed for 33 percent capacity. After police officers, volunteers, vendors, the stage crew and musicians, the number of paying patrons wouldn’t have made holding the festival financially feasible.

As usual, festival vendors will sell an array of products and offer food and drink. “Previous vendors get first dibs,” said Figler. “We have X amount of space and it depends on what product they are selling for those who want to come. We may ask them to space out a little.”

The hours will remain the same as past festivals, from noon to about 9:30 p.m. Eighteen bands will be heard on three stages – the Chill Tent and the Party Tent, while headliner bands will play on the Main Stage. Headliners at recent festivals have included Soul Asylum, The Psychedelic Furs, Blues Traveler and the Gin Blossoms.

Next year there will once again be a Battle of the Bands competition, with the winner performing at the festival as well.

“As the day goes on the performer names become bigger and more famous as a general rule,” Figler said.

Ticket prices have not been decided for the 2022 festival. Figler said they are considering charging slightly more than in prior years. Previously, tickets were $35 each through Ticketmaster and the Pleasantville Recreation Department. By the end of April, prices rose to $40 and later $45. Tickets at the door on the day of the event cost $55.

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