ROMP returns June 2022; attendance nearly cut in half this year but some lessons learned

October 12, 2021 | 12:08 am

Updated October 11, 2021 | 10:39 pm

Photo by Josh Kelly

ROMP will return to its traditional summertime feel, with dates scheduled for June 22-25, 2022.

The annual festival experienced a dip in attendance in 2021, according to Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum Executive Director Chris Joslin. This year’s festival was delayed until September and also had various COVID-19 protocols in place.

Joslin said the 2021 crowd was down approximately 50%, saying it could be for a number of reasons including the safety precautions. However, with all of the COVID-19 precautions in place, Joslin said they learned some effective ways to operate in years to come.

One thing they came to realize was how helpful the pre-checks at the Hall of Fame came to be with check-in to the festival. Through it, guests were able interact with the workers, get any questions answered and start some excitement for the festival.

“I think that pre-check is something — regardless of health and safety protocols — going forward is something that we feel like was a real positive. We would have never done that had it not been for the health and safety protocols,” Joslin said.

While they have 8 months to plan compared to the usual 12, Joslin is excited to lock in a few acts for the setlist this coming year.

One group that had to cancel due to travel restrictions was We Banjo 3 of Ireland. Joslin hopes that by June, travel restrictions will be lifted to allow them to perform.

Ironically, Tommy Emmanuel went on as a replacement for the group and received an overwhelming response from the crowd, Joslin said. After the weekend was over, Joslin said it would be difficult to imagine not bringing him back for another year.

October 12, 2021 | 12:08 am

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