Officials reflect on this weekend's canceled events
The beach finally saw some attention during its first day back open with limited hours.
While some see the dozens of people as an improvement compared to zero, they don't compare to the thousands that would have been on the beach this weekend for SandJam Fest.
“March and April were different this year than they’ve ever been before," Tourist Development Council Director Dan Rowe said.
Rowe also said special events like SandJam are used to bridge the gap in between tourist seasons; however, the pandemic practically stole any kind of spring break in our area, and took the income with it.
“The coronavirus pandemic happening right in the middle of March, I mean it’s realistic... to think that the beach will lose somewhere between $250 and $350 million of visitor spending if we don’t get back to business by the summer," Rowe said.
SandJam Executive Producer Rendy Lovelady also hopes business is back to usual by the summer. He said they're already planning ahead for Gulf Coast Jam.
"There’s been ideas of having masks on for everybody. There’s thermometer talk. There’s all kind of hand sanitation stations," Lovelady said. "The reality is, people have to feel safe when they come, or they won’t come.”
He also said although SandJam's cancellation cost nearly seven figures, he's hopeful about what's to come, and he believes people will show up when venues reopen.
“We were afraid people weren’t going to show up after the hurricane because they were devastated, and we had the biggest crowd that we’ve ever had at Gulf Coast Jam last year. So, I think we’re resilient," Lovelady said.
Headliners for this year's event will be announced May 5. The full lineup will be announced May 14.
Lovelady said people should not worry about buying a ticket, because if the event is canceled, they will be refunded.