FILER — This year's HWY 30 Music Festival is planned to be larger with 32 bands, more vendors, an extra day, and an anticipated increase in the number of excited fans ready to enjoy the weekend. Since the festival is bigger in scale, organizers have had to undergo a lot of preparation.
Last year, the festival occurred in the midst of COVID-19 with hopes of bringing a sense of normalcy back to concertgoers. Although some COVID-19 protocols remain in place, another risk organizers are preparing for is the heat.
Gordy Schroeder, the Director of HWY 30, took to the stage on the first day before the first act even took the stage to remind people to be aware of the hot temperatures.
“Make sure we’re staying hydrated and make sure to get out of the heat a little bit,” said Schroeder.
Just in case reminders aren't enough, Gordy has taken other preventative measures to prevent people from passing out or suffering from heat-related illnesses such as heatstroke.
“We have an IV place," said Schroeder. "If you’re feeling dehydrated or drank too much, you can go in and get an IV and help yourself and get out of the heat.”
There will also be paramedics, and EMTs on the scene in the event anyone feels ill.
Since we are still not out of the woods yet with COVID either, organizers have put some COVID protocols in place for any concertgoer who may have concerns.
“We have sanitation where you can still get hand sanitizer," said Schroeder. We have good bathrooms. We have room to social distance if you want to social distance.”
Despite the potential risks, everyone who is attending is looking to experience some summer fun. Katie Patterson and Todd Buchanan both traveled from Boise to participate in their second HWY 30 Music Festival.
“I’m really glad the live music is back," said Patterson. "We should have it forever, it should never go away.”
“It feels awesome," said Buchanan. "We really missed the music scene last year and anxious to get back, and this is kind of kicking it off for us.”
Both concertgoers plan to stay until Friday, and while the heat may be a challenge they're both ready for it. Peterson mentioned how she has plenty of water and even brought a fan to keep her cool. Buchanan went on to say all he needed was some shade and a cold beer.
Concertgoers aren't the only ones ready to have some fun again. For many bands and musicians playing at the festival, they're excited to be performing for live crowds after a year of very few or in some cases, no live performances.
“A part of us was kind of ripped away from last year," said Lainey Wilson, one of the musicians who came from Nashville to perform. "We haven’t been really able to do what we were made to do. I’ll speak for all of them and say that we’re on cloud nine. Just even being here and being just around people is doing my soul some good.”
With a long weekend ahead of listening to music, eating food, and enjoying cold drinks everyone is thrilled that things feel normal again.
“It’s amazing to see these people come out, and they’re living," said Schroeder. "They’re listening to the music, they’re living, they’re hugging on each other, they’re dancing out there, and they’re having a great time.”
“Just being able to walk around and talk to our neighbors and meet people that are into the same music and like doing the same stuff so, looking forward to a great weekend,” concertgoer Todd Buchanan said.
Many of the musicians in attendance are also glad to be back interacting with one another.
“There’s just so many incredible artists that I’m a fan of myself," said Lainey Wilson. "Everybody seems to really love some country music so, we’re on the same page.”
HWY 30 will be taking place throughout this week until with gates opening at 11:00 am and music on until 11:30 p.m. For people who may want to grab a last-minute ticket, you can head to the festival's website to purchase them.