The City of Carmel is still planning its inaugural music and film festival for May 2021, although organizers acknowledge it might not be able to debut then because of uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carmel Director of Community Relations and Economic Development Nancy Heck said the originally scheduled dates could end up being a great fit.
“I think many people will be looking forward to having something to come together as a community,” Heck said. “By spring of next year, they will have missed a lot of activities for this year, and I think it will be the perfect time for people to take a breath, celebrate and find some reason to put the pandemic behind them.”
But not everyone agreed. Councilor Adam Aasen, who helped kickstart the festival before joining the city council in January, urged organizers to consider several potential challenges before proceeding, such as financial distress in the film industry as it’s come to a halt and allocating additional city funds to the festival when the pandemic may require they be used for something else.
“It might not be responsible to make big spending decisions until we have a better idea of the economic outlook for Carmel,” Aasen said. “To make those decisions really soon might be tough.”
Heck said organizers are monitoring these issues and acknowledged the festival may have to be delayed. But she said the pandemic may help with some elements of planning.
“It might actually be easier to get some (big name performers), because a lot of things will have been canceled,” Heck said. “There is a lot that is up in the air, and we’re trying to keep an eye on that and do the best we can with anticipation for what this same time next year will look like.”
The City of Carmel provided $175,000 in its 2019 and 2020 budgets to help launch the nine-day festival, which will be managed through a nonprofit. The Carmel Redevelopment Commission is providing office space rent free at 620 S. Range Line Rd. in Monon Square, an aging retail center the CRC purchased in 2018 to make way for future redevelopment.
Heck said organizers will continue to plan the festival for May 14 to 22, 2021.
“We need to be ready just in case things go well,” Heck said.