Raleigh officials are weighing whether cancel Dreamville Festival as other high-profile events—including the massive South by Southwest Festival in Austin—close amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The city council will hold a work session tomorrow to discuss several large events coming this spring, including rapper J. Cole’s music festival, among other things.
Two cases of coronavirus, a highly contagious virus with flu-like symptoms, have been identified in North Carolina. Those two patients have been quarantined in their homes, but officials anticipate more people will test positive in the coming weeks as the virus continues to spread and more tests become available.
The city’s International Festival, scheduled to kick off last weekend at the State Fairgrounds, was canceled amid concerns of the virus. Dreamville Festival, which is scheduled for April 4 at Dorothea Dix Park, drew nearly 40,000 people to the city last spring.
More than 110,000 people have been infected with the virus worldwide, and nearly 4,000 people have died. In the United States, 22 people have died from the virus, and there have been nearly 600 confirmed cases, the New York Times reports.
With the recent cancelation of Austin’s SXSW, the INDY asked Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin if there had been any discussion about axing Dreamville.
“We have been talking to the event organizers, and we’re obviously monitoring everything very closely, but we haven’t made a decision yet,” Baldwin told the INDY. “There was international travel involved last time, so we’re looking at all of this, and we’ll make a decision in the future, but we don’t have a make a decision right now.”
Should city officials cancel the event, it wouldn’t be the first time Dreamville hit a snag. The festival was initially scheduled for the fall of 2018 was rescheduled because of Hurricane Florence.
The meeting Tuesday will include input from the Officer of Emergency Management and Special Events, which noted that last year’s festival drew visitors from all 50 states and a dozen international countries. Only 18 percent of festival-goers were from the Triangle.
City officials referred concerns regarding coronavirus to Dreamville’s organizers, who did not immediately return the INDY’s request for comment.
“Everything scheduled on our end is still a go at this time,” says city spokeswoman Julia Milstead. “We are following CDC guidelines/Wake Co. Health Dept. recommendations and like everyone, we’re continuing to monitor the situation.”
Baldwin says she’s weighing the decision very carefully.
“Any decision we make is going to set a precedent, and if we decide to cancel, then what does that say about other events?” Baldwin says. “I just want to be really careful that we get as much information as possible and make a decision based on data.”
The meeting is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday in City Hall.
UPDATE: Raleigh City Council decides not to cancel any of the events for now.
Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This festival should not be cancelled over the pandemic as it is only a flu and thousands of people die from the common flu every year.
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