The expectation of bad news makes it no easier to swallow once the inevitable finally comes to fruition.
If all of us were to be honest, we all knew for some time that Mile of Music wouldn’t be happening in 2020. Though many of us were nonetheless struck with a heavy sense of sadness and disappointment when a small and unrealistic glimmer of hope gave way to reality in the form of cold, undeniable and official words: “the prudent and safe decision is to cancel.”
“Though it is clearly the right decision, it is very much a painful one,” Mile of Music’s announcement said.
Though now that the sting is beginning to dissipate, it’s only appropriate that we give credit and warm thanks to Mile of Music — as well as to many other large event organizers in our region — for reaching their decisions before getting too deep.
The Mile team most certainly heard the disappointment. So too did the EAA team after the cancellation of Airventure. And so did Octoberfest’s organizers after announcing we’d have a re-imagined event rather than 300,000 people crammed elbow to elbow and breathing a moist stew of particles from Lawrence University to Memorial Drive.
They’ve also heard anger and derision from those who felt it was cowardice or political correctness — or whatever aggrieved buzzword — to shutter months in advance.
We can call it courage. They knew those voices were waiting in the wings.
We can call it prudence — but hell, let’s call it wisdom — in knowing that a gamble on 2020 could very well be a losing one and eliminate beloved and lucrative events in 2021 and thereafter.
The spending doesn’t start when the soundboards are plugged in and the chords begin to bellow from the loudspeaker.
It’s only then when organizations begin to dig out of the red and hopefully emerge into the black. We’re now at the time when checkbooks would be wide open to open the possibility of successful events a few months down the road.
“Money is spent well in advance of the event to secure permits, pay deposits, and commit to other financial expenditures,” Octoberfest organizers wrote. “It is not financially responsible to incur costs and secure commitments for an event the size of Octoberfest in the midst of this pandemic based on current public health guidelines.”
And if crowds don’t come — or just as likely, cannot come due to legitimate health and safety concerns — organizers would remain in deep holes that could threaten their very existence.
We should certainly feel disappointment that we’re staring down an uneventful summer. We should certainly mourn the memories we’re not going to make in 2020.
But we should certainly be thankful.
We’ve come to expect some amazing events here in the Fox Valley. It’s a testament to the smart and tireless workers behind the scenes who pay attention to every detail.
Let’s add courageous to the list of descriptions.
We’ll continue to have amazing events for a long time to come after this hiatus because they’re not willing to gamble our future enjoyment — in spite of the heat they knew those early, but reasonable decisions would draw.