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July Mini Fest, formerly Herd Immunity Fest, moves forward in Marathon County

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 11:37 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -

The Q & Z Expo Center in Ringle will move forward with an outdoor rock festival this July under a new name, ‘July Mini Fest', as licensing and permitting questions continue to be sorted out with Marathon County leadership.

Formerly under the title ‘Herd Immunity Fest’, the event’s Facebook page says they will host fifteen bands over three days next month, most recently bringing in the Detroit-based Riding with Killers hard rock band to replace after Royal Bliss pulled out of the show earlier this week.

“The Festival is also not called “Herd Immunity” and the name no longer tied to any of our social media or promotion,” organizers wrote on Facebook. Organizers spoke with but refused public comment to NewsChannel 7.

Lance Leonhard, Marathon County administrator, said the county does not have a communicable disease ordinance that would prevent the gathering, and that they are working with the property owners, including a meeting on Thursday, to work out questions regarding zoning and licensing requirements. If the event were to attract more than 3,000, it would trigger a Marathon County ordinance requiring a large assembly permit, but event organizers say they are only selling tickets for 20% capacity of the event venue’s capacity of 10,000.

The band lineup currently includes One-Metallica Tribute Band, Blacktop Mojo, Static-X, the Night Crawlers and others. Organizers on Facebook say tickets are selling quickly.

The event comes after most other major music festivals and summer events around Wisconsin have been canceled due to COVID-19, including the Hodag Country Fest in Oneida County that typically hosts thousands outdoors. A communicable disease ordinance proposed in draft form earlier this month from Marathon County would not have given the health department authority to interfere with the event as planned, Leonhard told NewsChannel 7. In the draft as it existed, the ordinance would kick in only after a cluster of COVID-19 cases were to be identified at a location, at which point public health would work with property owners to implement protective measures. That ordinance has been sent back to the health committee for further review.

Earlier this month, the venue center hosted rockstar Ted Nugent for a ‘Hunt the Vote’ event.

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