W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival slated for summer 2021

Organizers sorting out public safety measures, working with city and regional health department

By Evan Gorman | January 29, 2021 at 10:57 PM CST – Updated January 29 at 10:58 PM 

HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) – Celebrating 30 years, Henderson’s W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival is slated for this summer, but some adjustments are expected. This comes after a cancellation last year, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A large number of people from across the region, country and world join locals for the food and live entertainment. With the pandemic still a threat, safety concerns continue to be present.

Organizers tell 14 News that public health safety is top of mind.

“I think the entire community will feel energized with the news that Handy, “year-30 2.0” is in the works,” Abby Dixon, executive director of the Henderson Tourist Commission shared.

Organizers of the 2021 W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival know they will have to take a hard look at health guidance.

“We’re trying,” Handy Fest Chairman Brian Bishop said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to put a great festival on. We feel like we put on a world class event that we’re very proud of. Everyone on the committee is working hard to make it happen.”

The decision to cancel last year, described by some, was devastating. So, this year may look differently. Details continue to be sorted out, but will likely include masking, hand sanitizing stations and social distancing.

“It is one of those community events that people are proud of,” Vice Chair of the Henderson Music Preservation Society Steve Gold expressed. “Frankly, there is one week a year where Henderson is the coolest place in the United States. I’ll stand by that.”

The organization is working with both the city and regional health department.

“We’re proud to set a good example and thrilled to welcome the festival back,” Dixon smiled.

Board members are continuing to raise money and are looking for financial help.

The event is scheduled for the middle of June.

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