Moonlight 160 2000

Second annual Moonlight Festival scheduled for Oct. 17

Downtown festivals return following state COVID-19 guidelines for events

Though it will look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent this year, the City of Som­er­set will host its free, fall out­door event – the Moon­light Fes­ti­val – Sat­ur­day, Oct. 17 in down­town Som­er­set fea­tur­ing a star-stud­ded line­up of music, food, art and spir­its.

The num­ber of peo­ple allowed inside the fes­ti­val area will be reduced by 50 per­cent (5,000 peo­ple) to com­ply with the state’s guide­lines for events and venues. The city’s event team has imple­ment­ed a num­ber of addi­tion­al mea­sures to pro­tect those attend­ing, Som­er­set May­or Alan Keck said.

“We are imple­ment­ing all of the state’s rec­om­men­da­tions for out­door events and feel con­fi­dent we will bring our com­mu­ni­ty an event they can enjoy safe­ly,” Keck said. “We’re extreme­ly excit­ed to be giv­ing res­i­dents some­thing to look for­ward to and to be sup­port­ing our local busi­ness­es and ven­dors in a year that has been so chal­leng­ing. Our Healthy Som­er­set ini­tia­tive is focused on improv­ing our minds, bod­ies and spir­its, and host­ing an event where we can enjoy food, music and fel­low­ship safe­ly is para­mount in doing so.”

The lineup
Drake White 2000
Drake White & The Big Fire
The War and Treaty
BarefootMovementTall2 2
The Bare­foot Move­ment
Eric Bolander BY Kayvilla Blevins
Eric Bolan­der
Max Power
Max Pow­er

The fes­ti­val, spon­sored by Horse Sol­dier Bour­bon, kicks off at 11 a.m. with Somerset’s own blue­grass ensem­ble Max Pow­er per­form­ing on Foun­tain Square stage. They will be fol­lowed by Lex­ing­ton Americana/folk artist Eric Bolan­der, bon­fire coun­try duo Everette and blue­grass acoustic group The Bare­foot Move­ment, with The War and Treaty and Drake White & The Big Fire clos­ing out the night by 9 p.m.

Described as equal parts Bap­tist tent revival and south­ern rock fes­ti­val, Alaba­ma native Drake White and his band, The Big Fire, have toured with coun­try super­stars Willie Nel­son, Dierks Bent­ley, Lit­tle Big Town, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church and Toby Kei­th. White has been fea­tured as one of Rolling Stone’s 10 Coun­try Artists You Need to Know and one of Billboard’s Hot New Coun­try Artists to Watch.

“Drake White has such an incred­i­ble fan base, and he com­plete­ly com­mands the stage with his soul­ful voice,” City of Som­er­set Tourism Direc­tor Leslie Ikerd said. “Fes­ti­val-goers are going to love his per­for­mance. It’s the per­fect way to cel­e­brate being able to come back togeth­er as a com­mu­ni­ty.”

Som­er­set res­i­dents who attend­ed the 2019 Mas­ter Musi­cians Fes­ti­val may remem­ber The War and Treaty, as they were the act play­ing on stage when a severe thun­der­storm rolled through, can­cel­ing the remain­der of the fes­ti­val. “I am thrilled they are going to join us in Som­er­set again to share their extra­or­di­nary music and sto­ry,” Ikerd said.

Since form­ing in 2014, The War and Treaty is a fusion of South­ern soul, gospel, coun­try, and rock-and-roll. Known for a live show revival-like in inten­si­ty, the hus­band-and-wife team of Michael Trot­ter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trot­ter have opened for the leg­endary Al Green and toured with Amer­i­cana stars Bran­di Carlile and Jason Isbell. Their newest album, Hearts Town, dropped Sept. 25, and the news of its release was high­light­ed on CBS Sun­day Morn­ing and with fea­tures on the duo in Rolling Stone and Newsweek.

Moon­light is spon­sored by Somerset’s future dis­tillery, Horse Sol­dier Bour­bon, which will be on hand to serve the festival’s sig­na­ture drink. Craft­ed by Som­er­set Tourism in part­ner­ship with The Mole Hole Gift Shoppe and Tip­sy Toad bar, Somer­Cider is a fun twist on fall fea­tur­ing Horse Soldier’s Sig­na­ture label bour­bon and Haney’s Appledale Farm apple cider. The drink recent­ly won the Ken­tucky League of Cities Sig­na­ture City Drink con­test at the organization’s annu­al con­ven­tion in Sep­tem­ber.

Down­town streets will be filled with Ken­tucky fla­vor from a robust list of food and spir­it ven­dors – fea­tur­ing every­thing from waf­fles to pork rinds, pret­zels to Mex­i­can, and bar­be­cue to Cajun. Beer, wine, moon­shine and bour­bon will also be avail­able, and down­town restau­rants Serendip­i­ty, Down­town Deli, Som­er­set Swee­t­erie, Zil­la Meals and Granny’s Grab ‘n’ Go will be open to serve guests.

Safety guidelines

All of this will be enjoyed a bit dif­fer­ent­ly than last year in order to pro­vide a safe event for fes­ti­val-goers, Ikerd said.

Somerset’s COVID-19 safe­ty plan, approved by the Lake Cum­ber­land Dis­trict Health Depart­ment, includes hav­ing five sep­a­rate entrances to keep crowds from gath­er­ing in one place. A symp­tom board at each entrance will list COVID-19 symp­toms and ask those expe­ri­enc­ing symp­toms not to enter. Each adult and child enter­ing the fes­ti­val will have their tem­per­a­ture checked and must pro­vide a name and num­ber for con­tact trac­ing, Ikerd said.

All fes­ti­val-goers will be band­ed upon enter­ing to ensure that every­one inside the fes­ti­val gates has been screened. Masks are required unless guests are eat­ing, drink­ing or can prop­er­ly social dis­tance. The area imme­di­ate­ly in front of the Foun­tain Square stage will be roped off, and peo­ple who choose to enter that area to watch bands per­form must be masked at all times.

Ven­dors are required to be screened for tem­per­a­ture, wear shields, masks and gloves at all times, and have a hand­wash­ing sta­tion at their space. Ven­dors will be spaced out more than dou­ble the nor­mal dis­tance to allow peo­ple stand­ing in line to be the rec­om­mend­ed 6‑feet apart.

View a com­plete list of ven­dors and the city’s COVID-19 safe­ty plan.

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