The proverbial hatches are still being battened as Hurricane Irene works her way towards the Eastern Seaboard, with the storm set on a direct course for landfall on the northeastern tip of South Carolina by tomorrow morning. It will reach New York City by sometime mid-Sunday morning before continuing up through Maine and Canada.
The City of New York has canceled all event permits over the weekend, ending the Afro-Punk Festival (organizers have promised to reschedule) and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. A weekend long concert event hosted by Dave Matthews Band has also been canceled, along with shows from Richard Buckner, Joe Pernice, Ted Leo, and others around the city, according to the Village Voice.
But down south, where the storm’s epicenter lies, local clubs and festivals are forging ahead. Washington, D.C.’s Rock and Roll Hotel, Black Cat, and 9:30 venues are all going ahead with scheduled shows, with the Black Cat writing on their Facebook page “Concerned people: As of right now, all shows for this weekend are STILL HAPPENING. Rock and roll will never die.”
Raleigh, North Carolina’s Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina — which features Drive-By Truckers, the Dodos, Yelawolf and Superchunk — is also going forward, with shows scheduled at thirteen venues, all indoors, throughout the city.
Weather-related mishaps have plagued the concert industry this summer, so it’s not surprising that many shows are being canceled before there’s a chance for injury. In early July, high winds collapsed a stage that Cheap Trick were performing on in Ottawa. A few weeks later, another stage fell at the Indiana State Fair where country-pop act Sugarland was to perform, just as a large storm moved in over the area. Just last week, Belgian festival Pukkelpop was canceled after a storm knocked down a stage there. Ten people in total died at these events and dozens more were injured as a result, making New York’s city-and-state-mandated caution not just understandable, but advisable.
The New York Times has set up a Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute news on Irene.