October 18, 2021

Cancelation of Seedstock music fest likely

Photo from Seedstock Music Festival Facebook

It’s no secret the coronavirus pandemic has taken a hit on a variety of public events, especially festivals.

Seedstock, an annual weekend music festival that takes place at Reed’s Seeds on Route 215 in Cortlandville, is one of them — certainly postponed and perhaps canceled for the year.

The festival was in line to mark its 12th year Aug. 7 to 9. However, co-organizer Tyler Coakley said the festival “doesn’t look like it’ll be rescheduled” as of right now.

“We have to do the right thing right now,” Coakley said. “It’s out of our hands.”

Coakley, Chris Merkley, Jamie Yaman and Mac Coats started Seedstock 14 years ago.

Beginning merely as a house party, it was transformed into a large festival at Reed’s Seeds due to popularity of the bands brought in.

Every year the festival brings in 25 or more bands, with 800 to 1,000 fans from both the greater Cortland area and beyond gathering for the weekend full of music.

With New York State mandating that gatherings can only go up to 25 or fewer people, festivals aren’t likely for a while.

Meghan Lawton, executive director of the Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said postponing the summer festivals, including Seedstock, puts a damper on the community.

“We’re disappointed with the postponement,” she said. “Everything that gets postponed has a negative impact on the community.”

However, she added, “The safety of our community and our travelers is more important.”

The cancellation of festivals like Seedstock affects more than music fans. It means lost sales tax revenue, Lawton said, and the annual activities are something both the community and tourists look forward to.

“Events during the summer are attractive to locals and tourists,” Lawton said.

Coakley and Merkley had their booking agent reach out to the bands to deliver the news.

Musical artists look forward to performing at festivals like Seedstock, but the pandemic has kept them shuttered from playing in front of crowds.

“It’s become the norm for these people,”Coakley said. “(Seedstock) is a unique environment; it’s not your usual festival.”

Coakley also said he hopes for a smaller event this year, but nothing compared to the size of Seedstock. “We might still do some sort of event, but not sure what will be that,” he said.

Despite this year’s festival being postponed indefinitely, Coakley is confident that future Seedstocks will continue if the health and safety of the community and its surroundings is in good shape.

“It’s something we do for the community, and I hope to continue that in the future,” he said. “That’s the goal as long as everything gets back to normal.”

The postponement in Coakley’s eyes is seen as an opportunity to make Seedstocks in the coming years better than previous years.

“Maybe having this year off will be a blessing,” he said. “This could give us fresh ideas. We can come back next year with more creative juices.”