Memphis in May lost $ 1.79 million due to COVID-19 pandemic
Memphis in May International, tourism giant for the city, has just quantified 2020.
It’s $ 1.79 million.
That’s all the festival organizer lost this year with his riverside extravagances shut down by the pandemic.
Year after year, hundreds of thousands of people attend the Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and other events designed to showcase Memphis and its attractions.
But not this year.
“For the first time in 44 years, the unimaginable has happened; the Memphis International Festival in May did not take place and Tom Lee Park sat empty in May,” Memphis general manager said in May. , James Holt, in the organization’s annual report on Thursday.
“We quickly mobilized to reset the festival to fall, but the ongoing pandemic forced us to abandon those plans. Without our events in 2020, there was virtually no organizational income for the year and Memphis in May suffered a devastating financial loss of $ 1.795 million in fiscal 2020, ”says Holt.
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What happens next? Nobody gives in. Says Charles Ewing, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Memphis in May: “Along with my fellow Board members, our staff and community volunteers are determined to bring Memphis back to May in 2021. Despite the devastating financial loss that has occurred due to the coronavirus in 2020, our board of directors is steadfast in this commitment. “
Without ticket sales and income from the Patrons’ Event, Holt resorted to cost cutting, employee time off, and federal loans provided through the Paycheck Protection Program.
While the month-long festival typically ushers in the heavy tourist and visitor load in the summer, closures caused by the pandemic have contributed to massive layoffs in the hospitality industry. In August, the unemployment rate measured at 11.8% in metropolitan Memphis. Layoffs have been particularly severe at hotels, restaurants, bars, museums and entertainment venues, including historic Beale Street.
The losses this year have surpassed the setback of 1998, when Memphis in May lost $ 595,000. The 2020 debacle cost the city $ 4.6 million in local tax revenue and offset the regular $ 149 million economic impact on the hospitality industry.
Despite the pandemic, Holt and his group have gone ahead and rescheduled Memphis in May for 2021. Here are the scheduled dates for next year’s events:
- Beale Street Music Festival: April 30-May 2
- Tribute to Ghana: May 1 to 31
- World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest: May 12-15
- Great American River Run: May 29.
Are we really going to have it? Hopefully, yes, we will have a cure available for the virus. Keep your fingers crossed.
It just doesn’t look like good old Memphis without Memphis in May.
Ted Evanoff, Business Columnist for The Commercial Appeal, can be reached at [email protected] and (901) 529-2292.