Months of planning lead 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 the host community of Palmyra, Wayne County. Festivals have become some of the most important events in the music industry.

The principle is simple: invite festival-goers for an entire day of music and let them immerse themselves in all that the region has to offer.

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

The man behind the music: Nick Welch worked for years in the concert business

For Welch, creating the Finger Lakes Country Music Festival was a multi-year endeavor. He worked for six years in major local concert halls. He traveled the country. Welch has also appeared at a number of high profile events including the Super Bowl, Coachella, FireFly Music Festival, NFL Draft, March Madness Final Four and others.

“The more I worked on these shows, the more I realized that I wanted to host my own event,” Welch recalled. “I wanted to have a longer event than a typical gig, so I opted for a ‘festival’, which has more artists and longer opening hours.”

In an age dominated by side hustles, Welch consulted with his father in the early days of planning. He’s a real estate agent by day, so he had time to plan and execute a music festival like the one to be held in Palmyra on June 4.

“I first approached my father and told him about the business idea. Together we looked at ballpark numbers to see if it was even doable,” Welch explained. “I really made the first push by calling a booking agency in Nashville, Tennessee in August 2021. We had multiple phone calls over the next two months – talking about artist availability, budgets, insurance, etc. . In the meantime, I was meeting with the Wayne County Fairgrounds for booking their hall.

But Welch is no 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 I was 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 epitomizes country music

It could have been a pop, classic rock or hip-hop concert. He could have mixed several genres. This might have been appropriate had the festival been held in another part of the country.

The Finger Lakes epitomize country music — and Welch said he knew from the start that booking country acts would be necessary. “When I had the idea to create an event, I knew it had to involve country artists. The Finger Lakes region has a huge domestic fan base,” Welch continued. “Seeing Lee Brice and other country artists come to Palmyra for a festival rather than a typical gig at other local venues, it gives country fans new excitement to have a new event to attend with a new atmosphere. .”

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

The response was so strong that over 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 indeed our entire region,” Welch added. “We sold tickets to Ohio, Buffalo, the St. Lawrence region, Pennsylvania, everywhere. It’s great to see participants coming from all over. This event helps local non-profit organizations such as the Palmyra Community Center, the Ryan Callahan Foundation, and Palmyra Rotary. 100% of bar tips will be donated to these organizations. Additionally, local Scouts will be selling food to raise funds for their group.

The impact doesn’t end there, however.

Welch says one of the ways he is most proud of this event is the opportunity to provide jobs for local residents. Coming out of the pandemic — and as the Finger Lakes region continues its tourism rebound — Welch said it gave him a great feeling to see the opportunity for others. “As the owner and promoter of the event, it is also great to provide jobs for locals who are happy to help out at the event to make our first year a success. Many locals are thrilled to see something so important happen in their hometown,” he said.

Although the focus has been on preparing for the festival, Welch says he has already started thinking about what the day will actually look like for festival-goers.

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

In just a few short months, the Finger Lakes Country Music Festival went from an idea that stuck in Welch’s mind to a true summer headlining event. “To see where this has grown in just three months shows that anything is possible. Whether national artists join us at the first annual Finger Lakes Country Music Festival, whether sponsors trust us and wish to getting involved, helping nonprofits, creating new jobs, it’s all very exciting and I think it’s just the beginning of what will get even bigger in the future,” concluded Welch.

If you go: Finger Lakes Country Music Festival in Palmyra

OR: Wayne County Fairgrounds, Palmyra, New York
WHEN: June 4, 2022
WHAT TIME: Free Entry Tailgate Second Stage Presented by Frozen Ocean & Marchioni at 2:00 p.m. / Main Stage at 4:00 p.m.
WHO IS COMING: Lee Brice, Kameron Marlowe, Eric Burgett, Eric Van Houten, and MORE!


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