Carlos Reynosa (right) performed at Idyology with a full band during the 2017 Idyllwild Strong Music Festival. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

With less locations and more bands, this year’s Idyllwild StrongBenefit Music Festival event promises to deliver. The event is organized to make sure that patrons are able to travel easily between venues. The popular fire engine will be back this year with stops at or very near venue locations. 

This year’s main stage will be the new Butterflied Amphitheater, home to the popular Idyllwild Summer Concert Series. Other venues are The Idyllwild Brewpub, Ferro, an outside stage at Bear Claw Tattoo Studio between the shop and Village Market, Park Lane between the Fort and Idypark, and a stage behind Merkaba Tea. 

Last year, the event hosted 3,400 people from what event organizers could calculate. There are no tickets being sold, as this is a free event, so organizers had to rely on social media to get a headcount of attendees.

How will businesses be impacted by the event? “The businesses will benefit from the revenue generated by everyone being in town to support the event,” said Brian Parnell, organizer of Idyllwild Strong.

The event is presented by Young Idyllwild, Inc. and fundraising efforts will still benefit those impacted by the 2018 Cranston Fire. Last year, the event raised $42,000.

“The money didn’t go as far as we hoped, and we wanted to give something to everyone,” said Parnell. The applicants were kept anonymous throughout the application and award process to those of the selection committee. Insurance and GoFundMe pages were taken into account when the final award amount was determined for each applicant. The highest award amount was $4,400 and the lowest award amount was $50. Of the 35 awards, 15 awards were more than $1,000 each. 

The fire victims grant application is open to everyone who experienced fire and/or flood damage. 

Parnell said that Idyllwild Strong has completed the paperwork to become a nonprofit, but that the paperwork just needs to be submitted. His hope is that Idyllwild Strong can become like a local FEMA for Idyllwild because there are no immediate disaster and relief funds for Idyllwild. 

The costs for this year’s event are more than last year’s event. The more well-known bands are playing for a fee so the overhead costs are higher. The cost of permits is one of the reasons. Inspections by Idyllwild Fire Protection District have been conducted for safety during the event. Captain/Deputy Fire Marshall Jim LaMont has signed off on all six venues, according to Parnell. County planning also signed off.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted to approve Community Improvement Designation funds of $2,500 for Young Idyllwild, Inc to assist with the costs of the festival. The vote was taken after the newspaper went to press. 

Idyllwild Strong will run from Aug. 16 to 18 with hours from 2 p.m. to midnight on Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For questions and information, email [email protected] or visit Idyllwild Strong on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or its website

The festival is free for all ages.