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John Legend never made it to Centre County in 2017, but it was still a milestone year for music

The crowd sings along with Blake Shelton in July at Happy Valley Jam, the first-ever concert in Beaver Stadium.
The crowd sings along with Blake Shelton in July at Happy Valley Jam, the first-ever concert in Beaver Stadium. Centre Daily Times, file

Two historic, first of their kind music events were slated for 2017, but only one of them happened.

In February, organizers of the Karoondinha Music and Arts Festival began to announce the performers who had signed on to perform at Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park in Centre Hall during a three-day music festival in July. Through spring, the lineup continued to grow with some of the hottest acts around: John Legend, Chance the Rapper, Paramore, DNCE, Alessia Cara. Local acts such as Pure Cane Sugar and Olivia Jones were also slated to join the 80-act bill.

But just as people were beginning to learn how to pronounce the festival’s name, the plug was abruptly pulled. Less than a month before the festival was scheduled to start, a statement appeared on Karoondinha’s official website announcing that it would not be happening.

“To everyone who has believed in Karoondinha, we are thankful and appreciate all of your patience and understanding,” the statement said. “We hope to continue to earn your support in the future.”

Ticketholders were issued refunds through vendors such as Eventbrite, and Paul and Kaleena Rallis, the siblings who organized the festival, indicated that it would be rescheduled. In an email Thursday, Kaleena Rallis said that they “are still in the process of solidifying details for the next event,” but dates have not been announced.

Still, there’s always Blake Shelton. In July, the country superstar and “The Voice” co-host headlined the first-ever concert at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium. Happy Valley Jam also featured hit-makers Chris Young, Big & Rich, David Ray and Adley Stump.

Beaver Stadium is known for hosting Penn State football games and not much else. It’s considered sacred ground in Happy Valley. Blake Shelton will shake things up when he headlines the first concert ever held inside Beaver Stadium since it opened

The milestone event took about eight months of planning and was presented by Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and Basis Entertainment. The success of the concert opened the possibility for other similar events at the stadium, Phil Esten, Penn State deputy director of athletics, told the CDT in July.

“The definition of success isn’t only attendance, part of it is making sure everyone had an enjoyable experience,” Esten said. “By and large, the fans who attended, the artists, the promoters, the production company and staff had a pretty positive experience.”

Even if there’s not another stadium show or if a Bonnaroo-type experience never makes its way to Centre County, music fans still have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Lana Del Rey, Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert are all headed to the Bryce Jordan Center over the next few months.

Jessica McAllister: 814-231-4617, @JMcAllisterCDT

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