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Monkeypox cancels free concert at Southern Decadence

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NEW ORLEANS — The Bourbon Street Extravaganza, a free concert held in New Orleans amid Southern Decadence — one of the nation’s biggest LGBTQ events — has been canceled due to monkeypox concerns, the bands announced Wednesday. organizers.

The concert was scheduled to return on September 3 for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic ended Decadence in 2020. It normally draws up to 20,000 people to the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann streets in the French quarter of New -Orleans outside Napoleon’s bar Itch.

Concert producer Chuck Robinson canceled the concert in light of the rapidly spreading monkeypox virus, media reported. The virus, which appears to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men, is transmitted through prolonged skin-to-skin contact.

“I wish we could do the show, but monkey pox came out of nowhere and quickly,” Robinson told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “My concerns must be the safety of the artists and the production team.”

He added that there were plans to bring in stars from Australia and England and yet the virus has “statistics that scare me”.

“It spreads by touch and proximity, not by droplets like COVID and I did not feel, in good conscience, that I could be responsible for an event that could become a mass broadcaster,” he said. -he declares.

The Washington Post first reported on the canceled Bourbon Street Extravaganza as part of an article about the growing threat of monkeypox. There have been concerns about the lack of availability of the monkeypox vaccine in Louisiana, which has 120 confirmed cases, state health officials said.

Earlier this month, the Louisiana Department of Health said it was in touch with Southern Decadence organizers to get people vaccinated ahead of the event scheduled for Sept. 1-5 over the long weekend. of Labor Day.

Since 1972, Southern Decadence has grown from an informal gathering to an annual eruption that draws thousands of revelers to New Orleans over the holiday long weekend. In 2019, around 225,000 people attended various events and the big street party. An even larger crowd was expected this year.

The Bourbon Street Extravaganza has been part of Southern Decadence since 2004, the year Robinson and co-founder Ron Julian opened Napoleon’s Itch at 734 Bourbon. Robinson and Julian kicked off the concert on an outdoor stage in part to promote their new bar, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported. Over the years, Jeanie Tracy has become a frequent and favorite concert performer.

“It became Southern Decadence’s biggest event,” Robinson said. “It’s our gift to the city.”

Robinson said the gig would return in 2023.

“I pray for everyone’s safety, but this is what I had to do,” he said of the decision to call off.

Other Southern Decadence events and promotions are still going ahead as planned.