The National Music Festival, the two-week classical music series that drew much praise in its debut season in Floyd County this past summer will stage its second season in Maryland.
In August, the Festival announced it was in the black and told The Roanoke Times it had expanded its board to include Floyd County notables Bernie Coveney, Marie Henry and William May among others. Festival organizers talked glowingly about a second season, which new members of the board — and many of the festival’s financial contributors — assumed would be in Floyd County.
“For a new nonprofit organization, in this economy, we are proud that as we enter our second fiscal year we have paid all our bills and don’t have any debt,” Festival Executive Director Caitlin Patton told The Times. “We are now working hard to plan next year’s Festival.”
On July 5, the Festival posted on its Facebook page:
To everyone who donated so generously and worked so hard this debut season, please accept our heartfelt thanks. We will continue to work diligently and use our collective abilities to bring the finest concert music to Floyd, Virginia, the New River Valley and the Nation.
On August 24, the Festival posted on Facebook: “Planning the 2012 Festival…a lot of great music in store for next year!”
On September 1, the Festival posted: “Today marks the beginning of our second fiscal year, and we are very pleased to announce that the Festival is in the black – all bills have been paid and we have no outstanding debts!”
On September 9: “We’ll be announcing next year’s Festival season soon, so keep your eyes and ears open…”
Then, on Nov. 26: “”The second season of the NMF will be June 3-16, 2012 in and around historic Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.”
Coveney and Henry are missing from the site’s board of directors page on the festival’s web site although Henry is listed as a member of the advisory board on one page and is not listed on the advisory board on the other.
The festival’s donors page is still dominated by Floyd County resident and business contributors. Some of those contributors now tell us privately they gave money with the understanding the festival would remain in Floyd County and are not happy that festival organizers appear to have taken the money and ran.
On the festival’s Facebook page, a question asking for an explanation for the move went unanswered publicly.
On December 1, the festival changed its location and phone number on its Facebook page.
On December 3, festival organizers went on Facebook to ask for volunteers in and around Chestertown, MD, to help unpack the moving van that brought the festival’s belongings from Floyd to the Eastern Shore.
No contributor we contacted wanted to talk openly about the festival’s change of venue. The sudden departure of the music festival — which added to the county’s musical heritage — leaves a sour taste in the mouths of some.
The National Music Festival, located in Floyd, Virginia, is an orchestral training festival designed to mentor and provide performance opportunities for gifted musicians on the cusp of their professional careers. The Festival will present about 25 performances (including everything from large orchestral works to solo recitals) and over 200 free open rehearsals annually. The second season will take place June 3-16, 2012.
So what happened?