Video of Oklahoma State University students seemingly packing local bars last weekend as they returned for the fall semester went viral and even made national news. That has prompted city officials, OSU leaders and local residents to express concerns about whether students will follow social distancing protocols and whether venues are doing enough to enforce safety guidelines.
The mayor told The Oklahoman’s Josh Dulaney that he understands the economic pain felt by musicians, promoters and venues like The Tumbleweed as the pandemic has worn on for months and live events have been canceled.
“Venues like the Tumbleweed have unfortunately been bearing a lot of the burden,” Joyce said. “It’s unfortunate. It’s certainly not something we ever want to see happen, but given the nature of the disease we’re dealing with, those types of events can be problematic given the spread of the disease. Ideally, from my standpoint and the standpoint of the community’s health and well-being, it seems like postponing a large event like this would be better.”
As previously reported, The Tumbleweed was forced in the spring to postpone the 2020 edition of its venerable Calf Fry Festival to 2021. The three-day May music fest annually draws about 30,000 concertgoers.
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Tumbleweed owner Cary McBride told the Stillwater News Press this week that he has been getting criticism about hosting Weedstock, but called going forward with the event a matter of survival for the venue.
“I told the Chamber (of Commerce), ‘We either put this thing together or we just shut the doors for good,’” McBride told the News Press. “Venues like us were the first to close and the last to open.”
The mayor decided against issuing an emergency declaration shutting down bars, according to the News Press.
For updates and information about Weedstock, go to www.facebook.com/TumbleweedDanceHall.