Event venues, promoters weighing to cancel or not in coronavirus hysteria

Coronavirus affecting large events

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Ticket sales for the Toby Mac Hits Deep concert at the Coliseum were extremely good, officials say, in spite of Thursday’s coronavirus recommendation by the Health Department to avoid gatherings of 250 people or more.

Steve Hutton, Executive Director of the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, says he really doesn’t have any say over whether concerts, conventions, and events will go on or not.

“At the end of the day, we rent our venue space to promoters and we leave it up to the promoters to make that decision, now if the Health Department ever comes in and escalates that and asks us to make a decision on behalf of the promoter, we would certainly do that,” Hutton said.

It's not that easy for Malcom White, who announced Thursday that his St. Paddy's Day Parade, which draws tens of thousands of people yearly, is canceled this year. He says there will still be celebrations, just not a parade. What's the difference, people ask him?

“The answer to that is about 70,000 to 80,000 people different. Hal & Mal’s can hold 1,000 people on a good day max. The parade attracts 70 to 80,000. It’s a huge difference,” he said.

Around the metro there are other places too, such as the Brandon Amphitheater and Thalia Mara Hall where people gather to listen to concerts or watch plays.

Hutton says venues can do little things that can make a big difference.

“We as a venue, though, have gone the extra mile to make sure that we have placed additional hand sanitizers at both our north and south entrances,” he said.

Hutton says when shows cancel, it affects the event, the venue, and the promoter, not to mention the people who bought tickets.

That’s why White says, yes, we will have a party on March 28.

“We’ve booked all these bands so I’m sure... we’ve got to do something with them, so there will be some kind of event going on down here," he said.

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