Kicker Country Stampede was forced to relocate the 2019 music festival to Heartland Park in Topeka due to recent flooding at Tuttle Creek Reservoir. What Manhattan, local businesses, and community members didn’t foresee was that the festival will stay there too.
The Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism announced today that it has agreed to terminate its four-year contract for use of Tuttle Creek Park with Country Stampede.
Not long after, festival officials and the City of Topeka announced a new name change of Heartland Stampede and a new three-year contract. Country Stampede has been held in Manhattan for the past 23 years and is said by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to bring approximately $8-$10 million dollars annually through sales and taxes.
KDWPT will refund $81,500 Country Stampede, LLC for previous payments of the 2019 festival.
Manhattan Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Karen Hibbard said, “when Stampede comes to town our hotels benefit from that – our liquor stores, our grocery stores, retail stores as they sell camping supplies,” Hibbard explained. “So again an overall $8 million impact [moving] to another community… it’s a significant impact for Manhattan, Kansas.”
In a media release from the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, CEO Jason Smith and Karen Hibbard said, “we are obviously very disappointed to hear that Manhattan’s 24-year relationship with Country Stampede is ending. We are pleased to have been a big part of Country Stampede’s success and growth. We believe the hundreds of thousands of people who attended Country Stampede in Manhattan throughout the years have enjoyed our hospitality and our community.”
“The owners of Country Stampede have made it clear that this decision is not a reflection on the City of Manhattan or Tuttle Creek State Park. Our understanding is that Stampede officials needed to attract a new capital partner to continue to grow and expand the festival in the future. For local country music fans, the good news is they found a partner that will keep the festival in northeast Kansas. Unfortunately for Manhattan, that new partnership means the festival will have a new home near Topeka. Manhattan and Tuttle Creek State Park have an excellent track record of hosting a nationally acclaimed music festival for more than two decades. This announcement does absolutely nothing to change that.”
“Manhattan is a great spot to host meetings, events