This has been quite the whirlwind of a season. Starting with a full summer of exciting events and line-ups, and now living each and every day in uncertainty of the next. It is with a heavy heart that Thomas Point Beach & Campground announces the postponement of the 2020 Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival to 2021. So, why are we here right now, and what does this mean for the rest of our summer?
Where are we? And why?
Well, as you no doubt have come to realize, we are very much in a day-by-day pattern at this point: assessing both National and International data and science surrounding Covid-19, how that data effects our industries of Camping and Events, and how it is influencing and changing the regulations and guidelines that keep us all safe.
But why are we even still trying? We have seen whole industries write 2020 off completely, canceling entire seasons in one fell swoop. What makes Thomas Point Beach, and the events that are held there, so special that they think they can just march forward?
Well, nothing. As you have seen, we have had to cancel. First the 2020 Summer Jam Camp Out on July 4th, and just today, our very own Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival. We are not claiming to be immune, above the rules, or just so headstrong that we won’t give in. We are trying to act off from hope, with patient and deliberate action.
We understand that the data and science is always changing. Just last year, when we began planning for 2020, Covid-19 had never been dreamed of, in January of this year it was just a super-cold in another country, and by March the globe finally began coming to terms with the very real possibility that our lives and our future may never be the same again. This was something we have very little understanding of, and the data and science quickly proved that we understood even less than we thought.
Over the following weeks, emergency action plans were put in to place, but what, if anything, they may accomplish was unknown, and would take months to come to fruition.
During that time, many industries such as ours executed mass cancellations; as even a few months of missed events would have devastating impacts on operational costs and logistics, and the overall uncertainty of the season as a whole meant that canceling outright was the soundest business decision to make with the information available.
However, we saw an opportunity to hold out hope, and after speaking to the independent producers who host events on our property, we all decided to take a chance.
Most venues such as ours (outdoor/waterfront) produce their own events internally, which means drastic schedule changes affect the entire business cycle. However, our event line-up is comprised almost entirely of individual third-party producers. This means that each can be agile and make changes on the fly without affecting the plans or execution of the others.
With this in mind, we all decided to approach this season with the mentality that “you can only cancel once, so cancel late, when you have exhausted all other options.”
This was first seen with the development of the 2020 Summer Jam Camp Out. Working with the producers, we all developed a set of internal guidelines and safety procedures that we would execute in addition to the guidelines of the state, waited as long as we could for the science and trends to stabilize, and approached the Maine DECD for feedback and/or approval of our proposal.
Unfortunately, it was not in the cards.
Why did we cancel one a week prior, and another with over a month to go?
Well, it comes down to scale.
Alternatives, options, and policies that may work for one event do not always scale well, and what works for dozens to a few hundred people, will not always work when you get into the thousands. It’s for this reason that, despite many options being at our disposal, we were able to determine earlier that the only one available to us for our annual Bluegrass Festival was to postpone until 2021.
This is incredibly obvious at a large scale, for quite a while out. However, with smaller events, the driving factor is up to date information and science, as well as recent policy and guideline changes.
If things are great weeks ahead of time, it may be possible to get a green light to move forward. However, there is nothing to say that sudden changes won’t cancel those plans the week of.
Likewise, it may look completely impossible a month out, but with time and developing trends, suddenly the whole country opens up the week before, or new options come to light.
The unfortunate truth is, no one knows, and no matter what, if you can afford to be agile, the best option that combines the health, safety, and enjoyment of our customers is to wait as long as possible. It may not be the most ideal option, but if we want that possibility of enjoyment, it’s the only course of action.
And believe us, we understand just how incredibly inconvenient it truly is.
Where does that leave us, and where are we going?
Well, we still have a few things on the books, and we are working feaverishly at exhausting all available options to salvage summer in a safe and socially responsible manner.
We are going to continue to work with our third-party producers to explore options, and further develop rock-solid safety procedures and guidelines so that our patrons can still form one or two fond memories of the Summer of 2020, even if it is a precious few.
Our first and foremost priority is customer health and safety. Please note that just because something is still on our calendar does not mean we are not aware that we may have to cancel it at any moment, and you should be, too. Also, please be aware that despite the branded name containing “festival” or “show” or what have you, what may occur may not exactly match your fondest memories of such.
Please follow us on Facebook for updates as they occur, and do please try to be gentile.
We are trying, we are doing the best we can, and we sincerely hope you understand what it is we are trying to accomplish.
Your Thomas Point Beach & Campground Family