This article was published on March 12th, 2020
COVID-19, more commonly referred to as, the Coronavirus, is more serious than many of thought it would be. It is a serious because organizations, not-for-profits and corporations are are concerned for staff, vendors, and attendees health and safety. Disneyland has shutdown, March Madness is cancelled, and all of Amazon is working remote (after buying an expensive new campus). Even Tom Hanks, America’s dad has caught Corona.
The world economy is hanging in the balance and there is a huge impact due to the rapidness at which COVID-19 is spreading. Countries all across the world are closing their borders and setting up two week quarantine zones in an attempt to curb the spread and stop their hospitals from becoming overburdened. The situation has gotten so bad that Trump has banned travel from Europe nations.
The containment of COVID-19 has become a priority, and it is now impacting many of our dreams, especially in the LGBTQ community, because the Pride and circuit party season is about to take a serious hit. Truthfully speaking, this virus, which has now become a pandemic by the WHO, couldn’t have come at a worse time for the gay community. Spring is finally here, and summer is close behind. Event organizers are making tough choices and making decisions that impact the gay calendar.
Normally, we would all be gearing up for Pride and other major festivals, but many of them are responsibly shutting down in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19. Here are some of the upcoming events that have unfortunately had to close or reschedule, and their status, based on time of publication:
- Phoenix Pride
The executive board is meeting on March 12 to discuss and conduct a risk assessment. A statement is expected to be released on March 13 whether or not the planned events will take place April 4-5, 2020.
Update: The Phoenix Pride Board met and has elected to postpone the Phoenix Pride Festival to the fall. Dates will be announced later.
- Peak Pride Big White
Update: With the immediate closure announcement of Big White Ski Resort made on March 16, the organizers of Peak Pride Big White, which was scheduled for April 1-5, 2020, have cancelled the event. Organizers will be working with their ticketing partner to make full refunds for all pre-purchased tickets.
- Jasper Pride
Update: As of March 13, organizers of Jasper Pride, scheduled for April 23-26, have not yet made a decision to cancel the event. Organizers will review and are in discussion with the board, performers, community partners, sponsors and supporters with their plan moving forward. They will provide a further update the week of March 16.
- White Party Palm Springs
Due to the escalation of COVID-19, White Party Palm Springs will re-schedule their event to October 30 – November 2, 2020. All tickets purchased for the April 2020 event will be honored to the new dates or to their 2021 weekend dates.
Update: Tickets already purchased cannot be returned; however they can be transferred to another person or they can be used at the October or 2021 events.
- M.E.A.T (March 21)
Update: Jake Resnicow has announced on his social channels on March 12 that due to the Governors direction to cancel all events over 500 people, that M.E.A.T, March 21, will be postponed. Tickets for that event will be valid for the rescheduled event; dates to be announced.
- GPS (Gay Party Saturday) and Legion events
Update: Organizers of GPS and Legion at the Global Theatre have cancelled both upcoming events in Los Angeles. They will be rescheduled for a later date. Pre-purchased tickets will be honoured for the future date with a complimentary upgrade. If you cannot make the rescheduled date, you can use your purchase as a credit towards a future GPS event.
- Florida AIDS Walk
Update: The March 21 event has been cancelled. The annual walk and music festival had a fundraising goal of $1.5 million.
- Cherry Party – 25th Anniversary:
Update: The HIV/AIDS and mental health awareness organization’s annual event, Cherry Party, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has postponed Cherry 25. The event will now take place October 1-5. All pre-purchased tickets will be honoured for the new dates.
- Tampa Pride
Update: The March 28 event has been rescheduled for May 30.
- RuPaul’s DragCon LA
RuPaul’s epic DragCon, the colossal expo celebrating drag culture, was scheduled to be held at the beginning of May, has also cancelled their event. They are not planning to reschedule, and have decided to wait for better times in 2021. If you did buy tickets to DragCon, don’t despair, the event has promised to work with Eventbrite to refund tickets.
- Pride of the Americas
Update: The weeklong festival, scheduled April 21-26, has been cancelled. A statement issued on March 11 explains the event will be rescheduled in fall 2020. Dates will be announced. 350,000 people were expected to attend the event.
- Palm Beach Pride
Update: Originally scheduled for March 28-29, Palm Beach Pride announced on March 12 their event would be cancelled. Their statement reads, “Palm Beach Pride, scheduled to take place in Bryant Park on March 28th and 29th, has been cancelled,”
- Miami Beach Pride
Update: A statement issued by organizers on March 12 confirms the festival has been cancelled. There is an exception of smaller, outdoor events scheduled for Monday, March 30, which will proceed as planned.
- LA Pride
Due to the concerns of COVID-19 around large public events, CSW will postpone all events related to the 50thanniversary of LA Pride that were scheduled for June 2020. Organizers continue to assess the situation and will provide more information as details become available.
- NYC Pride
NYC Pride is monitoring everything and still hasn’t decided to cancel one of the United States largest Pride events which is scheduled to take place in June. They are encouraging revelers to visit NY’s Department of Health’s dedicated website for more up to date information on the state of the Corona virus. It’s a great resource if you’re looking to learn about the state of NYC pride in the future.
Update: “NYC Pride’s concern, first and foremost, is the safety of our staff, volunteers and leadership, as well as those who attend our events and programs. We have diligently monitored the situation in New York closely as we weigh the potential impact on Pride NYC as we approach June. As of today, we are proceeding with modified operations to observe appropriate safety concerns but continue moving forward with Pride activities in June. As we do annually, we are in weekly conversations with the city and state officials on best practices for all of our programming,” said NYC Pride co-chairs Maryanne Roberto-Fine and Mario Longhi.
- Vancouver Pride
Vancouver’s gay pride event is scheduled to happen in August. They are not currently planning on canceling anything. The Vancouver pride society has put out a statement encouraging “community care”, however, saying that folks should consider forgoing greeting rituals. This means no handshakes, hugs, and definitely no performing the bise or un bec as they say in Canada.
Not every gay event is being canceled, so you can still get your party on if you really feel the need. Just remember to be careful and think of the safety of your fellow revelers. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and monitor your condition. If you do go to a crowded event, consider avoiding at risk people in your life for a couple weeks. This means, don’t visit your infant nephew or aging grandparents a couple weeks after going hard at a party.
Update: The National LGBT Cancer Network has issued an open letter about coronavirus and the LGBTQ+ communities with over 100 organizations asking media and health officials to weigh added risk. Read the open letter.
Update: PJ McAteer, Managing Director of Fire Island Pines, just released the following statement: “We’d like to make our customers and homeowners aware that our season is scheduled to be business as usual unless otherwise directed by official government guidelines. We are also mandating regular disinfecting of all workstations & bathrooms with hospital-grade cleaners on a daily basis. We are also implementing an increased cleaning schedule several times per day. We would like to thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming everyone back.”
Keep watching for updates on HomoCulture and from the official event organizers for events you are planning to attend. This is a very fluid situation with decisions changing day-by-day, hour-by-hour.
HomoCulture will do its best to continue to update this space as news and information becomes available.
Do you know an event that has been cancelled, rescheduled, or postponed? Leave an update in the comments section below.