Utica Music and Arts Festival will not return fall, as reported initially by Utica Observer Dispatch. The city-wide weekend long event each September featured dozens of bands from across the country playing at venues throughout the city.
The two-day festival grew over the last 8 years, and made the event affordable to attendees – $10 granted you entrance to participating bars and other venues, including art galleries. Local business owners shared their thoughts on the lack of UMAF returning this fall.
“It’s a lot of work,” festival founder Joe Sweet said. “I just feel so beat up by the end – so physically and emotionally tired that I just need a rest. … It’s grown bigger than me. So before I get too buried, I just want to let it breathe and see what grows out of it instead of just keep pushing and pushing.”
“I would love to partner up with someone who could fill that space that the festival needs as it grows,” Sweet said, noting his 7- and 8-year-old children and his business also have kept him busy. “We know we can keep packing bars and that’s awesome, but I want to grow it more than that.”
“I think it was something that people began to expect each year,” Schram said. “Hopefully, someone else will step up and bring it back next year. While there are plenty of music options in town, this event brought everyone together and introduced the city to a lot of bands and artists from outside the area, which is rare to see outside of the The DEV.”Tim Schram, owner of The DEV.