(Logo from Country Thunder website)

Forest City’s major summer concert attraction will not return in 2023. Country Thunder Iowa announced it is shutting down its concert event — citing a number of reasons.

Forest City Mayor Ron Holland expressed disappointment about the announcement. “They said they didn’t have a good enough attendance to make it worthwhile them to do it,” he says. Area country music fans had expressed disappointment in the event for what they termed as a lack of strong acts at the event. Others cited that move away from Memorial Day weekend when they could take time away from work, especially traveling long distances, to attend the concert.

Mayor Holland says that Country Thunder owes Heritage Park where the concert venue was located, some rent money as a stipulation of the contract agreement. “They’re supposed to pay us 50% of it — the money that they owed us if they cancel it for this first year,” Holland says. “So, we’re going to try and get that out of them. Whether we can get it or not or what we got to do to get it is yet to be seen.”

Holland is searching for an agency that operates these kinds of events to bring a replacement event to Forest City. “We’re looking for another one and we haven’t gotten very far with that yet. Somebody else take their place, and I don’t know how that’s going to turn out,” Holland says.

The event got its start as the Tree Town Music Festival but was bought out by Country Thunder Music Festivals a few years ago. Country Thunder continues to operate in Kissimmee, Florida, Bristol, Tennessee, Calgary, Alberta, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Saskatchewan, and Florence, Arizona.

(By A. J. Taylor, KIOW, Forest City)

Radio Iowa