Join Recreation Resources Service and NC State Tourism Extension as we present a half-day virtual workshop examining the story of festivals and events during the COVID pandemic.
We’re thrilled to have Scott Feehan kick off the workshop with the compelling story of how he and his staff drew international ovation for pulling off a virtual three-day festival in only a matter of weeks
Background and Overview:
Festivals have become a part of, and often define, the cultural fabric of towns, counties and regions. Alongside providing a means of boosting community sense of pride, and showcasing to visitors what makes an area unique – events and festivals are also huge economic drivers. That having been said, as Winter 2020 began to melt away, festival planners and goers alike were looking forward to spring and summer events. But, nature had other plans, and handed us a pandemic – preventing large gatherings – like festivals and events.
Early into the COVID pandemic, those in the field asked – Should we cancel? Postpone? Over the course of spring and summer, some did cancel; some did postpone. Yet, others found sometimes ingenious ways to make sure the celebrations could go on, safely, for the community and to a degree, visitors. Now, as fall approaches, some of those within the field of festival and event planning have become a masterclass in how to provide fun, safe, socially distanced festivities.
Although some have recreated, redesigned, or reimagined their events, the pandemic has conversely awoken others to the burdens events and festivals place upon their communities. Some negative aspects include overcrowding, traffic, pollution, and opportunity costs. Could our staffs’ time and our area’s resources be better spent on alternative efforts? Perhaps the pandemic has shed light on the costs outweighing the benefits of community festivals.
This half-day virtual workshop, presented by Recreation Resources Service and NC State Tourism Extension will look at both sides of the story of festivals and events during the COVID pandemic. We’ll talk with folks in both parks and recreation, as well as tourism and community development. We want to hear their experiences; what has worked, what hasn’t – what can’t we wait for when we get back to normal, what we learned we should never have been doing in the first place; and, interestingly, we will discuss what has worked so well virtually, that we think we’ll incorporate into the event forever. We’ll also exchange views about what we foresee as long-term impacts for the future.