Winfield, Kansas ˗ Officials at Walnut Valley Association (WVA) have announced a few changes to rules governing operation of golf carts and other small personal vehicles on grounds during the 48th Walnut Valley Festival in September.

The most significant change is an outright ban on use of unauthorized, gas-powered ATVs/UTVs on grounds during festival. Authorized ATVs/UTVs include those operated by WVA, security, vendors and local emergency personnel.

WVA Executive Director Bart Redford: “WVA decided to ban unauthorized, gas-powered ATVs, ORVs, UTVs and any other gas-powered non-golf cart vehicle from grounds because they are categorically different than the electric golf carts that have long been a part of the festival. Some of these vehicles go much faster than golf carts, and can be hazardous to pedestrians. Many of these vehicles are just as loud as motorcycles, which are not allowed to be driven through the campgrounds, and we had numerous complaints about these vehicles specifically. Some of these are large as a small car, and have been taking up much-needed camping space. After talking the issue over with law enforcement, we decided to take this step.”

Officials also noted that golf carts and other electric vehicles must adhere to Winfield city ordinances regarding their proper use and operation. In particular, Winfield does not allow operation of golf carts on city streets or highways past the boundaries of the fairgrounds. Some festival goers in past years have been known to ride their carts downtown or elsewhere, and so new signs will be posted at entrances to 9th and 14th Streets from grounds, alerting festival goers that no golf carts should be driven past these points.

The Walnut Valley Festival, which will be held Sept. 18-22, 2019, draws a crowd of 10,000-15,000 people to Winfield, KS, to celebrate a blend of all kinds of acoustic music, including bluegrass, folk, Americana, a little bit of cowboy, some Celtic, blues, jazz and swing, and more. The festival, first held in 1972, will be celebrating its 48th year of operation this September. The festival boasts eight national and international instrument contests, including the flagship National Flat Pick Guitar Championship, as well as the International Finger Style Guitar, International Autoharp, National Mountain Dulcimer, National Mandolin, National Hammer Dulcimer, National Bluegrass Banjo and Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championships. These competitions annually attract some of the top musicians from around the world to vie for a portion of a prize package that exceeds $100,000 in cash and custom instruments.

On the Wednesday of the festival, Winfield hosts a number of hands-on workshops, where patrons can learn from some of the best musicians in the business, on instruments ranging from guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin to the hammer and mountain dulcimer. A juried arts and crafts fair is also held on grounds.