FOTW 2018

Organizers have scrapped plans for Gallatin’s third annual Fire on the Water Music Festival, which had been scheduled to return to Lock 4 Park in August. FILE

Gallatin has cancelled plans for the city’s annual Fire on the Water Music Festival this year due to ongoing uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The third annual event had been scheduled to return to Lock 4 Park on Saturday, Aug. 1.

However, Mayor Paige Brown said last week that “the opportunity is gone” to hire artists for the all-day music festival as well as promote the event, sell tickets and secure sponsorships.

“The problem is we’re really beyond the planning window,” Brown said. “If something were to happen and all social distancing restrictions were released, we might still try to pull off a (much smaller event) at a later date. That’s to be determined.”

Started in 2018, the Fire on the Water Music Festival was organized by the City of Gallatin, the Gallatin Area Chamber of Commerce and Sumner County Tourism with the goal of helping increase local tourism. 

Last year, a total of 2,200 people attended the event, according to data provided by the city. It was an 83 percent increase when compared to the previous year. 

“This festival shows off some of Gallatin’s most important and unique assets, which include local talents, our lakefront amenities and our recreation sites,” Gallatin Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Baker said. “We were really looking forward to year three and really changing up the genres, diversifying the festival a little bit more and then ultimately attracting more people to the city.”

Headlined by Delta Rae, last year’s event featured an all-new lineup of 10 bands that alternated performances between two music stages throughout the day. There were also fire and aerialist performers as well as food trucks and an expanded number of artisan vendors throughout the park.

Despite the increased attendance, Gallatin still lost $53,709 on the event, according to data provided by the city. By comparison, the festival lost $67,649 in 2018.

City leaders approved spending $50,000 to help book artists for the show earlier this year, but no money has been spent.

Officials hope the summer music festival will return at some point in the future.

“The event had definitely grown, and I hope that taking a year off does not lose any momentum,” Baker said. “When it is time for us to have a festival again, I do think we’ll have good attendance because live music is something folks are really missing right now. They will very much be looking forward to returning to concerts, festivals and just outdoor events.”

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