At roughly 2 a.m. on September 5, music-lovers in St. Louis and beyond learned via Twitter that LouFest -- an annual home-grown festival featuring big-name acts, local bands and comedians and dozens of vendors -- would not happen this year.
The really bad thing: the performers, vendors and contractors learned about this at the exact same time.
Just days before the weekend's two-day event, LouFest organizers pulled out amid rumors that vendors and contractors from previous years had still not been paid. A tsunami of media coverage and fan outrage followed, with many participants banding together to plan shows and dining events that would help folks recoup their vendor fees and get rid of merchandise ordered specially for LouFest.
My thoughts, naturally, were with my media friends who were forced to trash their long-planned festival coverage and come up with new filler features on the fly. After all, the show -- and the press -- must go on.
I posted the following to LinkedIn on September 5:
In the wee hours of the morning, while most people were sleeping, an event organizer cancelled a festival that was scheduled to go on this weekend.
Lots of people are affected beyond ticket holders: headliners and their crews, local performers who spent months honing material for a high-visibility gig, small-biz food and product vendors who paid big fees and created limited-edition items, an untold number of contractors like stagehands, sound engineers, lighting experts, operations specialists, volunteer wranglers and so many more. They need your support.
But today I'm thinking about my publication friends who have staffed up and labored for months to report news, plan spreads and digital layouts, interview artists, schedule photos and map out day-of coverage. Planning packages around major events is no easy task, especially when dealing with print deadlines and restrictions. We're talking pages and pages of coverage, if not full-blown keepsake inserts or guides.
It's a big deal.
Obviously, that coverage won't be running this week. As fast as they can, they're trying to fill the gaps. They'll make it work, but it's not easy.
If you can buy a slice of pizza for a media friend this week (and if it doesn't present a conflict of interest), you'd rock.
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