NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The music from the streets of New Orleans are on pause as a growing list of festivals call it quits for 2020. “All of the festivals will be missed by all of the musicians who work locally,” said Irma Thomas. This will be the first time in 46 years Thomas will miss Jazz Fest, due to its cancellation.
“I’m going to miss seeing a lot of the musicians who no longer live here, who come in town to play Jazz Fest and we get together sometime to have a lunch or something,” Thomas said.
Voodoo Music & Arts Experience cancelled it’s October dates and organizers say they are moving forward with 2021. Organizers made the announcement online, “while we are disappointed to share this news, the health and safety of our fans, artists, staff and community remain our top priority,” the post reads.
Mark Romig with New Orleans & Company says these festivals make hundreds and millions of dollars for the local economy. "All of the festivals that we have throughout the year, we have more than 140 festivals on the calendar year,” Romig said. “These festivals are part of providing opportunities and platforms for our local musicians to get that exposure and so it is devastating for them."
Thomas says musicians have a growing list of performance cancellations.
"The sad part about a lot of it, a lot of the musicians who depend on Jazz Fest, along with the other gigs they were getting locally, they were living paycheck to paycheck," she said.
In a city known for its music and culture, right now, it’s soul – it’s musicians – are hurting.
"If you know a musician give them a call and see if there's anything you can do to help them,” Thomas said. “They would truly appreciate it."
“Our hearts go out to them and we all want to come back and be stronger, but we have to get through the process,” Romig said.
Thomas says this is the time to call and check-in on our loved ones, including musicians.