Hold the garlic please

We’re continuing to see some events and festivals being canceled across the US, but it hasn’t always been COVID to blame lately. Last weekend, the Ubbi Dubbi festival in Texas faced some unfortunate weather conditions on Sunday, forcing organizers to cancel Day 2. Last year, Ubbi Dubbi became one of the biggest festivals to resurface after nationwide shutdowns. Last weekend’s fest was the third edition of the famous dance festival to be revived.

Organizers took to social media to announce the Day 2 cancellation as the forecast called for severe weather disruptions including strong winds, hail and lightning. Alternate indoor events were quickly pulled together at various locations across the city but clearly would not accommodate the festival sized crowd. Ticket holders are still waiting on details to receive refunds.

In California, the famous Gilroy Garlic Festival met a similar fate, but not for the same reasons. The event that has been running religiously every year was set to return for its 2022 edition after pivoting to a drive-thru event in 2021. However, due to lingering pandemic uncertainties and “prohibitive insurance requirements by the city of Gilroy” related to the 2019 shooting rampage, the plug was pulled on this year's festivities. After the tragic event in ‘19, the city required organizers to have a multimillion dollar liability coverage, leading to a lot of uncertainty for the festival’s future. It has been running for 42 years, raised millions for local charities and became a staple for many Gilroyans and tourists alike. The group behind the festival is still focusing on ‘giving back to the community nonprofits’ by hosting a variety of other smaller events from golf tournaments to catering a concert.

Crew shortages remains key concern

2022 could be the busiest live events season in a long time, maybe ever, and the industry is still grappling with a large shortage of workers. The ILMC Production Meeting took place this week in London covering topics from crowd behaviors, weather disruptions and dealing with logistical problems at events.

One of the biggest issues discussed revolved around the crew shortages across the industry. With live events returning en masse this year, we will see an increased demand for crews, equipment and services but simply not enough man / woman power to go around. According to Britannia Row Productions director Bryan Grant, some “shows and tours that have had to cancel or postpone because they can’t get people to load equipment in let alone get enough touring staff.” The crews that are available now are putting in long hours (longer than normal) to keep up with the demand, leading to concerns about the mental well being of these workers. It’s clear that as the industry gets back on its feet, there are still a lot of remaining obstacles to overcome, and who knows how long it will take to get back to pre pandemic staffing levels.

Dance like the whole world is watching

Tens of thousands of people flocked to the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro for the lively Carnival celebrations last weekend after they were postponed for a couple months as a new strain was circulating. COVID hit Brazil just after the 2020 edition and put a stop to the 2021 celebrations completely. During the pandemic, the venue (which has been home to the festivities since the 1980s) sheltered the homeless and operated as a vaccination center. According to the country’s health ministry, ¾ of the Brazilian population is fully vaccinated, allowing the country to return to some sort of normalcy with the Carnival parade and celebrations across Rio and São Paulo. Despite authorities claiming that all attendees were required to show proof of vaccination, reports claim that many gained access to the event without the required documentation.

For those that didn’t want to dish out the admission fees to attend the event inside the Sambadrome, there was no shortage of street parties to enjoy. With insufficient time to prepare for the festivities, City Hall ‘denied authorization for them to take place’, but this didn’t stop local organizers from bringing the celebrations to the streets anyway.