On October 10, 1991, St Augustine and St Johns County lost folk musician James Gamble Rogers III. The popular 54-year-old local performer and famed storyteller, whose life and legacy has been celebrated annually during a festival in St Augustine that carries his name, features national, regional, and local musicians performing on several stages.
The 25th anniversary event was canceled in 2020 at the request of Gamble’s family. Historic City News learned last week that the Gamble Rogers Music Festival Board of Directors has decided to cancel its upcoming live spring 2021 event due to ongoing concerns that stem from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The concerns about COVID-19 safety were heard and we are grateful the board has decided to cancel the live, in-person festival,” Lolly Rogers, Gamble Rogers’ daughter, said in a statement issued on behalf of the family. “We are encouraged that the board will be looking at alternative ways to provide music to the community, including a virtual event.”
The music series, originally scheduled for April 30 through May 2 this year, was to take place at the Colonial Oak Music Park in downtown St. Augustine.
The annual Gamble Rogers Music Festival was started more than 25 years ago by Gamble’s musician friends. The Board raises funds for youth music programs and other cultural events that keep Rogers’ legacy alive.
An announcement will be made in the coming weeks about plans for this year’s events. With help from the Cultural Council in 2020, an online Gamble Rogers Music Festival Concert Series took place with ten musicians performing on Facebook Live.