By Jesse Wood
Feb. 26, 2013. The 2013 Music on the Mountaintop festival, which is usually scheduled for the end of August will likely be postponed until the summer of 2014, according to founder and director Jimmy Hunt.
“We are in the process of figuring that out,” Hunt said when asked if the festival had been cancelled. “At this point, we don’t have a definitive answer, but it’s looking like we will postpone until 2014.”
Hunt said that organizers are “just trying to revaluate the business model.”
Hunt brainstormed the idea for the festival in an ASU business class. The inaugural event was held in 2008. Since then the festival has undergone a few changes.
The festival was initially held at the High Country Fairgrounds before moving to Grandfather Campground in 2011. Also, the event was extended from two days to three days last year.
Another first for last year was that Railroad Earth, a “newgrass” band hailing from New Jersey, became the “host” of the festival. It became known as Railroad Earth’s Music on the Mountaintop, and the band acted as a curator of the festival, as well as alerting its own fan base of the festival in the High Country.
“[Our possible postponement] has absolutely nothing to do with [Railroad Earth],” Hunt said. “We partnered with them last year to grow the festival and to try to work together as two forces to move forward.”
And then there’s attendance. During the first run as a three-day festival in 2012, attendance was estimated to be about 3,000, according to Chad Shearer, a spokesman for Music on the Mountaintop, in an High Country Press article last summer.
That was nearly half of what the attendance was in 2011 for the two-day event. Of course, last year’s Music on the Mountaintop took place a few weeks after the notorious Festival of Gnarnia on Beech Mountain, which turned into, as many festivalgoers observed, a “police state.”
Hunt noted that with all that goes into putting on an event of this caliber and size, the deadline to decide whether to postpone the festival or not is fast approaching.
“Time is a ticking,” Hunt said, adding that an official announcement of the festival’s plans will likely take place in the next 30 days.