OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- Music festivals are part of how we live in Wisconsin, and it hit the Oshkosh community hard when Country USA called it quits more than three years ago. Now it appears a new, three-day music festival is on the horizon.
The seemingly empty grounds of what used to be Ford Festival Park in Oshkosh will have new life next summer, with the announcement of a new music event known as XRoads41.
"We're incredibly excited to be back," John Gourley with Oshkosh Festivals said. "It's been a while since there's been a large format festival in Oshkosh."
Oshkosh Festivals is the organization now in charge. The festival will take place on the same ground Country USA called home in its final years. But Gourley stresses this will be an entirely separate festival.
"There was a previous festival there some years ago on that same site, but that site will be dramatically changed," Gourley said. "We're in the midst of making a number of modifications, but in that location -- we call that Festival Park."
The previous promoter's bankruptcy was what led to the end of Country USA. Prior to that, roughly 25,000 people attended the festival each day.
Many in Oshkosh believe things could revert back to the way they were for County USA's final years.
"Obviously we're excited for the potential," Marty Schibbelhut, owner of Osh Vegas Palms, said. "We enjoyed having the events in the past. It's not only good for us from a business standpoint, but it's great for the city of Oshkosh having the events in town and bringing a lot of people."
Osh Vegas Palms offers camping and parking year round. Country USA was always a peak season. Schibbelhut is hoping XRoads41 can do the same.
"I was cautiously optimistic," Schibbelhut said. "I mean, it's not the first time that there had been discussions of a new promoter bringing an event. While we appreciated having the events next to us, we've always have had to figure out over the last four years how to maintain and grow on our own without the event."
As for how many visitors are expected at XRoads41, Gourley says it's too early to tell. He does have high hopes for it even beyond 2024, as he says the expectation is for it to be an annual event.
"There's just something about the people in Oshkosh and that whole region and their love for music," Gourley said. "It's a perfect place for a festival."
Organizers will release more details and the festival's lineup at their Oct. 6 launch party at the Oshkosh Arena.
Click here for more information on the launch party, including how you can get the chance to attend.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that Country USA was located at Festival Park only in its final years.
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