The “Headliners” aren’t the only ones reeling from the postponement of EDC Las Vegas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been brutal for the live music scene, and while fans have certainly felt its absence, the impact of the virus has been particularly devastating for music festival workers and venue crews.
The lighting technicians who painstakingly retrofit stages with the rigs responsible for blowing minds; the security guards who grab creepy men by their collars and throw them out like Uncle Phil launches Jazz in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; the ticket scanners who literally open the gates of the most memorable times of music fans’ lives. These people are often overlooked by the music community at large despite their pivotal roles in ensuring special and safe experiences.
According to Rolling Stone, AEG Presents—the second largest presenter of live music and entertainment events after Live Nation—expected to lose $2 to $3 billion following the cancellations of 10,000 North American shows in 2020 and half of that in 2021. Extrapolate that number across the thousands of promoters in the US, and you get chasmic legions of music industry professionals out of work.
So it should come as no surprise that the recent postponement of EDC Las Vegas was quite the punch in the gut. According to FOX5 Las Vegas, over 160 members of the IATSE Local 720—the labor union behind Vegas’ entertainment industry—were slated to work at the festival’s 2021 edition.
“[EDC Las Vegas] was gonna be the first big show that we had where we were gonna have a lot of people out there,” said Phil Jaynes, the union’s president. “We were gonna have more than 160 people out there… It’s unfortunate. Obviously we’re used to bad news at this point.”
Jaynes said that while the decision to postpone was expected, his union’s members were still disappointed that the festival couldn’t happen in May after a year marred by ceaseless postponements.
Despite confirmation by Pasquale Rotella that EDC Las Vegas would move forward with its planned May dates, Insomniac’s CEO and founder eventually made the tough decision to move the fest to October. Rotella said the 2021 event isn’t feasible for May due to its inability to align with Nevada state officials’ reopening plan and vaccination pipeline.
“As we expected and were assured prior to announcing the festival for May, Nevada state officials announced they would lift social distancing requirements as of May 1, creating a path for EDC to happen with strict safety guidelines in place,” Rotella wrote in an Instagram post at the time of the postponement. “We just had a meeting in Las Vegas this past Friday with police, fire, medical, and other agencies involved with EDC to plan out details surrounding the event.”
“However, today, Clark County (home of EDC & the Las Vegas Motor Speedway) passed a reopening plan that requires 60% of their residents to be vaccinated before restrictions over large scale gatherings such as EDC can be lifted,” he continued. “Unfortunately, the rate at which people get vaccinated before EDC is out of our control. It might happen in time, it might not. Either way, we can’t take that risk.”
The new dates of EDC Las Vegas 2021 are October 22-24. You can find more information here.