Will Jazz Fest Be Issuing Stimulus Checks?
This weekend, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival canceled its upcoming October event in New Orleans. The show will now move to 2022.
Even is some experts, and the evidence they are providing, suggest that Louisiana's "Delta variant" surge is slowing. Which is happening now in August, a pretty good distance from October. Jazz Fest decided to cancel.
President Joe Biden and the White House have doubled-down on not locking down the economy. Which logically would include canceling economic impact events. So it wouldn't take too much of a leap to understand that Jazz Fest is going directly against the wishes of President Biden and the White House.
But beyond that is one of the dark parts of the pandemic that America fumbled multiple times over the last 18 months.
Logically, if you told people they didn't have to go to work, and would be staying at home for a few weeks, people would embrace that, right? Everyone wants a vacation. So why during the "stay at home" or lockdown portion of the pandemic did people not respond that way? Well, it's pretty simple in reality.
When Governor John Bel Edwards put the State of Louisiana into a "stay at home" lockdown order in March of 2020, there was no stimulus, eviction moratorium, business repayment plan, or anything attached. People were just being told they can't go to work, get a pay check, and pay for their bills.
Those items started trickling in later that year, but nothing like other countries. US citizens only received a couple of stimulus packages, that were low in dollars, and some Americans didn't even get them. Businesses who needed the help to keep their business above water barely got PPP loans (although some businesses who didn't really need it, like the Los Angeles Lakers, got millions of dollars), and other businesses were informed they didn't qualify at all.
So here we are now, Jazz Fest in New Orleans is upending one of the biggest economic events in New Orleans weeks before it was set to happen.
How many vendors, stagehands, ushers, and other live events workers were ready for their first big gig in two years? Many of those live events employees who have been told since early 2020 that they don't qualify for the countries stimulus packages will now be told they don't get paid again? The local businesses who don't have another PPP plan coming desperately needed a Jazz Fest in October to keep things above water...they're roundly ignored now.
So now that Jazz Fest has decided to defy the White House's wishes and cancel their event, will they be reaching out to take care of all the economic damage they just caused? Will Jazz Fest be issuing the stimulus checks that they are creating a need for?
Events like this often get a ton of help from local municipalities. No matter what the form is, whether its direct cash, venues, first responders, or other various ways municipalities help these events, they do it because of the economic impact the event brings. The money used to support events like this come through local taxes, on people and businesses. If local tax money was put into Jazz Fest, and they just tore a hole in the local economy, that's also a problem.
Will other events who decide to cancel, without an order to do so from the State of Louisiana or the White House, also cover the economic pain they're causing? If an event pulls the plug, while Major League Baseball games and NFL preseason games are filling stadiums, someone should cover the economic pain being caused by that. LSU Football is just weeks away, and if LSU football is allowed to plan their 100,000 plus attendance events without concern, no one should be canceling without covering the economic pain that it's causing employees, vendors, and other adjacent businesses.
IF it's too dangerous to have events in the State of Louisiana, or the United States as a whole, then the governments need to make the decision. This should not be left up to individuals planning these events. There are far too many aspects that an event producer cannot control when it comes to the fallout...unless of course that event producer is willing to cut stimulus checks to cover their damage.