Blue Ox Fest

Taylor Rose of Superior paints a mural at the Blue Ox Music Festival in the town of Union outside of Eau Claire in 2019.

The traditional first area major music festival of the summer has moved its dates from June 11-13 to Aug. 27-29 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hopefully, knock on wood, for everyone’s sake, that will be a safe weekend,” Jim Bischel, owner of the Blue Ox Music Festival at Whispering Pines Campground, said Wednesday.

The uncertainty of even being able to host the bluegrass festival in June prompted the date change, he said.

“Nobody was going to have a definitive answer as to whether we could go on with the June dates until sometime in May,” Bischel said.

And that scenario was unfair to both the fans and the entertainment, he said.

“The timing wasn’t very good,” Bischel said. “There are too many moving parts to put together.”

Over the past few weeks, Blue Ox organizers have worked with Eau Claire County and town of Union officials, Blue Ox artists and their management teams to reschedule the festival.

“Without their efforts and cooperation, this would not have been possible,” he said. “Finding ourselves in this situation is something that we never could have imagined.”

Of the 40 artists that were booked for the June dates, “there’s only one confirmed act that can’t make it in August. We’re hoping to have 37 of the remaining 39,” Bischel said. “Surprisingly, we’re looking very good.”

All tickets, including reserved campsites and car passes purchased for the June dates, will be valid for the new festival dates in August.

If ticket holders are unable to attend in August, their tickets can be rolled over to the 2021 Blue Ox Music Festival in June of next year, Bischel said.

Blue Ox organizers are also working on a refund policy.

“We kindly ask for your patience,” Bischel said. “This will take a bit of time as we iron out the details with our ticketing partner to achieve ticket rollovers, refunds and a potential official ticket transfer system. We will come up with a solution for all ticket buyers.”

The other major area music festival typically held in June, Country Fest in rural Cadott, was moved last week from June 25-27 to Aug. 13-15.

Contact: 715-833-9207, dan.holtz@ecpc.com