MEDFORD, Ore.– A day after the announcement Country Crossings 2019 was canceled, businesses in the Rogue Valley are looking at what implications this could have for the local economy.
The hospitality sector, one of the major beneficiaries of the festival, will be feeling the effects of a slower season as the thousands of people who came to town for the multi-day festival won’t be returning. However, that’s not the only segment of the economy that could be hurt.
“We are disappointed that they’re not,” said Bruce Hoevet, general manager of Rogue Regency Inn. “It was good business.”
Rogue Regency Inn, like many Rogue Valley hotels, benefited from the summer rush from the festival.
“The one thing that we did get was a higher average daily rate because we knew they were coming,” said Hoevet. “We were full.”
The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County even acknowledged the economic hit the valley would take.
“The losses are obviously big on a lot of levels,” said CEO Brad Hicks.
But what may hurt even more than the cancellation is the trust that’s been lost for many vendors who have still yet to be paid.
According to Hoevet, not only did the Inn benefit from the large crowds, the Rogue Regency was a vendor and housed many of the crew that worked at the festival. Months after the festival ended they are still out about $11,000 and still trying to get it back.
“They have not responded back to me,” said Hoevet. “Been trying to contact the person that was our contact when they were here and she has not responded.”
That abuse of trust could make it that much harder for the next big festival to find support in the valley.
“Certainly missteps by the folks from Country Crossings is it does take time to re-establish trust,” said Hicks.
The Chamber of Commerce believes the community will be able to bounce back and while it may hurt to lose such a high profile event, there will hopefully be another that will take its place.
“That doesn’t define our community and it doesn’t define who we are and what we care about,” said Hicks. “So something else will take its place and I’d like to think it will be even better.”
While the hospitality sector benefitted greatly, according to six restaurants NBC5 News spoke with in the surrounding area of the Jackson County Expo, they did not.
Many said they were actually happy the festival isn’t coming back as it negatively impacted their business. Some said they lost money after stocking up on food and drinks and hiring extra help for the potential crowds that eventually never showed up.
Several restaurants even said locals and regulars avoided their restaurants during the week because of the expectation downtown city areas near the festival would be overcrowded with people.