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Home » Ben & Jerry's » Months of planning leads to first annual Finger Lakes Country Music Festival in Palmyra

Months of planning leads to first annual Finger Lakes Country Music Festival in Palmyra

The Finger Lakes Country Music Festival promises to be a game-changing event for the Finger Lakes region and host community Palmyra, Wayne County. Festivals have evolved into some of the most important events for the music industry. 

The premise is simple: Invite festivalgoers for an entire day of music and let them be immersed in all the region has to offer.

This is what the Finger Lakes Country Music Festival promises to deliver as Lee Brice, Kameron Marlowe, Eric Burgett, and Eric Van Houten lead the musical lineup at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Palmyra. 

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The Man Behind The Music: Nick Welch Worked Years In Concert Business

For Welch, the build-up to creating the Finger Lakes Country Music Festival was a years-in-the-making endeavor. He worked for six years in local major concert venues. He’s traveled around the country. Welch has also been part of a number of high-profile events- including the Super Bowl, Coachella, FireFly Music Festival, the NFL Draft, March Madness Final Four, and others.

“The more I worked these shows the more I realized I wanted to have an event of my own,” Welch recalled. “I wanted to have an event longer than a typical concert, hence why I decided on a ‘festival’, which has more artists and longer hours of operation.”

In an era dominated by side hustles, Welch consulted with his father in the early days of planning. He’s a realtor by day, so there was time to plan and execute a music festival like the one coming to Palmyra on June 4. 

“I first approached my father and told him of the business idea. Together we went over rough numbers to see if it was even feasible,” Welch explained. “I really made the first effort by calling a booking agency in Nashville, Tennessee in August 2021. We had several phone calls going over the next couple of months- talking artist availability, budgets, insurance, etc. In the meantime, I was meeting with the Wayne County Fairgrounds for booking their venue.”

But Welch isn’t a newcomer to the Finger Lakes region. In fact, his family has operated a bar in Palmyra since the 1930s named Mickey’s Restaurant. “ I’ve always helped there since growing up,” he continued. The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Welch’s family- and with those roots- was well-prepared to take on the Finger Lakes Country Music Festival.

The Finger Lakes Region Embodies Country Music

It could have been a pop, classic rock, or hip-hop concert. It could have blended a number of genres. That might have been appropriate if the festival were taking place in another part of the country.

The Finger Lakes embodies country music- and Welch said he knew from the start that booking country acts would be necessary. “When I first had the thought of creating an event, I knew it had to involve Country artists. The Finger Lakes Region has a huge country fan base,” Welch continued. “To see Lee Brice and other country performers come to Palmyra for a Festival rather than a typical concert at other local venues, it gives new excitement to Country fans to have a new event to attend with a new atmosphere.”

Community response to the festival was impressive and immediate. Once the venue was booked- Welch said they considered a handful of national acts to headline- but saw Brice as the best fit. “Once we made the festival announcement, overall the community had a great response. We first announced on social media and 92.5 WBEE with a huge response,” he remembered.

The response was so strong that more than 800 tickets were sold on the first day.

Community Impact: Not Just A Big Day For Palmyra

“This event is huge for Palmyra, the County, and even our entire region,” Welch added. “We have sold tickets from Ohio, Buffalo, the St Lawrence Area, Pennsylvania- all over. It’s great to see attendees coming from all over. This event is helping local nonprofit organizations such as the Palmyra Community Center, The Ryan Callahan Foundation, and Palmyra Rotary. 100% of the tips at the bars will be donated to these organizations. In addition, the local boy scouts will be selling food to raise money for their group.”

The impact doesn’t stop there, though. 

Welch says one of the ways he’s been most proud of this event- is the opportunity to provide jobs to local residents. Coming out of the pandemic- and as the Finger Lakes region continues its tourism rebound- Welch said it’s given him a great feeling seeing the opportunity for others. “As the event owner and promoter, it’s also great to provide jobs to locals who are excited to help out at the event to make our first year a success. A lot of locals are excited to see something this big happen in their hometown,” he said.

While there has been a lot of focus on the build-up to the festival- Welch says he’s already started thinking about what the day will actually look like for festivalgoers.

“The day of the event will be a great time for all. The free admission 2 p.m. Tailgate Stage Presented by Frozen Ocean and Marchioni & Associates will kick off the party. At 4 p.m. doors will open to the Main Stage area,” he continued. “Vendors will be on-site selling amazing food. This includes Red Osier, FLX BBQ Company, MighTea Boba, Cheesy Eddie’s, and more. Businesses such as Allstate Roofing, and Reliant Community Credit Union will have booths on site with promotions and giveaways.”

Over just a few short months the Finger Lakes Country Music Festival has gone from an idea percolating in Welch’s mind to a full-scale headlining, summertime event. “To see where this has grown into in just three short months goes to show that anything is possible. To have national performers join us at the First Annual Finger Lakes Country Music Festival, to have sponsors trust us and want to be involved, to help nonprofit organizations, to create new jobs, it’s all very exciting and I think this is just the beginning of what will become even bigger in the future,” Welch concluded. 

If You Go: Finger Lakes Country Music Festival In Palmyra

WHERE: Wayne County Fairgrounds, Palmyra, New York
WHEN: June 4, 2022
WHAT TIME: Free Admission Tailgate Second Stage Presented by Frozen Ocean & Marchioni at 2 p.m. / Main Stage at 4 p.m.
WHO’S COMING: Lee Brice, Kameron Marlowe, Eric Burgett, Eric Van Houten, and MORE!