Appalachian Summer logo

BOONE — Based on a concern for the health and safety of the university campus, community and audience members, festival organizers for Appalachian State University’s annual summer arts event, An Appalachian Summer Festival, have announced the cancellation of the 2020 season.

The festival, which draws more than 27,000 visitors to the High Country each summer, was scheduled to present its 36th season June 28-Aug. 1. Plans are underway to replace live in-person events with alternative online programming in the month of July.

“While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty,” said Denise Ringler, director of arts engagement and cultural resources for Appalachian State, “we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously. Although it would have been helpful to have the benefit of several more weeks to make a decision about the 2020 festival, we acted on the information available to us at the time, including a possible risk of resurgence — a risk we were not willing to take. By erring on the side of caution, we were motivated by a desire to protect the health and safety of all — a goal that we felt superseded any desire to proceed with this event.”

Ringler added that while this decision is difficult for staff and patrons alike, the idea of presenting innovative programming during the month of July is a challenge the festival staff is eager to undertake. Discussions are currently underway on how to deliver a series of virtual online offerings in July geared to the interests of the festival audience, encompassing the artistic disciplines of music, dance, theatre, film and visual arts. Artists who were booked this summer will be invited to reschedule for the 2021 season and to engage with our festival audiences through such channels as pre-recorded or live-streamed performances and previews, personal messages, live chats and/or virtual tours.

For continued updates about alternative programming for the 2020 season of An Appalachian Summer Festival, visit

The 2020 festival season had not yet been announced, as organizers were assessing the coronavirus situation and the viability of mass gatherings. However, Americana musicians Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit were scheduled to open the festival; tickets to this event only went on sale March 2 and sold out in less than a few days. Ticket donation/refund options are outlined below:

• Option 1: Convert your purchase to a donation. Donate your ticket back to the non-profit An Appalachian Summer Festival to help defray the annual fixed costs associated with festival planning.

• Option 2: Refund. The festival will refund everything except service charges, which are non-refundable. Refunds will be processed as soon as the box office is permitted to open per university guidance related to COVID-19 restrictions.

IMPORTANT: The Box Office is currently closed. When it reopens, you may contact the box office Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046. Or send a message to staff now at The reopening date of the box office will be announced at

Festival organizers report that the event’s donors, sponsors, and patrons have reaffirmed their support, stating that they will be back “in full force” in 2021. Donors have also voiced their support for the opportunity to creatively program for the festival’s core audience as well as arts lovers across the country, while focusing on endowment giving and building a new base of supporters for the festival.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.