Local festival organizers optimistic for fall, safety remains top priority

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The recent COVID-19 surge is causing a domino effect and as the days go on, more festivals are being canceled.

Festivals and other events benefit Baton Rouge financially and organizers said as much as they would like to bring revenue to the Capital City, safety is their first concern. Unlike 2020, festival organizers are better prepared to make those last-minute cancellation decisions if they must.

In Louisiana, we love to party at festivals, typically in the spring and fall when events are at their peak. Even with COVID cases surging again, President of Visit Baton Rouge Paul Arrigo is optimistic.

“Nothing is back to normal yet, but what we were back to what we thought was well above than what we expected,” said Arrigo.

On Wednesday, the state reported more than 6,000 new COVID cases with 99% of those listed as community spread.

Shortly before LDH released its update, the Angola Rodeo, which is the longest-running prison rodeo in the country, announced they will return in 2022. This cancellation follows events like ‘Live After Five’ which is on hold.

“We’re in Louisiana and we want to have fun, we want to have festivals, but we can’t do that until we’re all moving forward,” said Geno McLaughlin with Abstract Concepts, LLC.

McLaughlin plans festivals and said he would like to put on events but understands if it can’t be done safely, it will not happen at all.

“We know that gathering people can also be a conduit for the spread of the virus,” said McLaughlin. 

Moving forward Arrigo and Visit Baton Rouge is using what they learned in the past to better prepare for the future.

“We didn’t expect it. We wish it didn’t happen, but we think, I think that we’re geared up, I think we’re tooled up to better handle this round both mentally and with our resources for as masks and what have you. I think we’re prepared because we know what we got to do,” said Arrigo.

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