Downtown Tempe Authority produces many events throughout the year. These events vary in size and scope and can draw as little as 50 people or as many as 250,000, over consecutive days. As with many other organizations that produce events, we were significantly impacted by the cancellation of a large-scale event in spring 2020. Having that experience in our rear-view mirror, we hope to be better prepared for any outcome as we move into our 2020/2021 event season.
At this point, we are moving forward with all of our events beginning in October 2020. However, we are fully aware that we can only make decisions based on the information that is available to us right now. With that said, we understand, as things change, we may have to postpone or cancel events in fall 2020 and spring 2021. Currently, our policy is as follows:
- Why would we continue planning our events during these uncertain times?
- We believe that these events provide a sense of togetherness and community. Historically, gatherings have helped the community spirit. We need each other to find joy and optimism. This ideal remains steadfast, especially during these uncertain times. Humans are hungry for opportunities to celebrate and gather and it aids in our mental health to have these types of events in our communities. We have reviewed all events and made modifications to the formats of each event. We believe that we can make the necessary accommodations to keep people safe at our events. If at any point this doesn’t seem possible, we will make changes to the model of the event or we will cancel/reschedule the event.
Additionally, many people have a vested interest in the events. Food vendors, artists, musicians, workers, temporary seasonal staff, and local merchants rely heavily on these opportunities. Events are financially important to so many of our stakeholders and we don’t want to take away their means to earning a living if we can feasibly continue in a safe way.
- What other elements will we be considering in making decisions?
- Timing is of great importance. We don’t want to cancel an event too soon or too late. We have no idea what the climate will be in future as things are changing rapidly. We would hate to act too quickly only to find that the situation is better than anticipated and we could have continued with the events. We also need to make timely decisions to prevent the loss of revenue. As our participants are making plans to be involved with our events, we owe them a timely decision and therefore, with each event, we will have “final call” dates in place. We will communicate to all participants what the “final call” dates are when they are established.
We will always adhere to federal, state and local regulations and guidelines. We may feel that we can safely conduct a particular event, but that decision may be superseded by the authorities. If a declaration is made at a state or local level that prohibits gatherings of a certain size, we will honor those requirements.
Event permits are required for any large event housed in our community. If at any time the City of Tempe feels that it is in the best interest of the public to discontinue holding public events, they have the right to revoke or not issue an event permit. Without this permit, we are unable to produce our events.
Additionally, expenses must be considered. If the requirements that are put in place made the event too costly to produce, we will not be able to move forward with the event. It would not be responsible to hold an event that could possibly bankrupt our organization. Our organization subsidize most of our smaller events through the small profit of our larger events. If the expenses become too great, we will not be able to proceed due to our inability to financially subsidize the events. We will not risk the long-term health of the organization for the short-term gain of a single event season.
- What happens if we have to cancel events AFTER our "Final Call" date?
- With each event, we will either offer participants a refund less a small processing fee or an opportunity to roll their fees forward to a future event. All processing fees will be communicated up front so that no one is entering into an agreement without all the facts. These fees are in place to cover the processing and credit card fees that we incur by accepting payments. Should a participant wish to take advantage of the refund, we ask that they allow up to 30 days to receive the refund.
To all our participants, vendors, sponsors, staff, artists, musicians, and guests, please know that we will weigh all sides before making decisions that impact all of you adversely. Our goal is to be able to safely continue with the events that have brought so much joy, and so many memories to our community for over 50 years. However, we will err on the side of caution if we are forced to make difficult decisions. We want to maintain our long-term relationships with each of you, your companies, your delegates, your employees, and of course our guests. We can only do that if we remain transparent and communicate regularly with everyone involved in our events.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any updates if you feel that situations have changed. We are in this together and we look forward to hosting you in Downtown Tempe for a beautiful and joyous event in the future!
Please remember to stay safe, stay supportive and stay #TempeTough.