Just as you thought things might be safer and more soundly in Philly as we move, proactively, into Pennsylvania’s Code Yellow with outdoor restaurants opening by the score, The Mann Center at 52nd and Parkside served up a great big piece of lousy, C-19 soaked pie: its 2020 season is not happening. Not the Hall and Oates’ HoagieNation, not Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Wilco-Sleater Kinney gig, and not, especially not, sadly not, The Roots Picnic.
“It’s unfortunate as this year was set up to be a really special event, we had some surprises planned and had ideas on further building out the footprint into Fairmount Park,” said Shawn Gee, The Roots’ manager and the capo of Live Nation Urban of annually-anticipated Roots Picnic. “However we are following the recommendations and requirements of both science and governance and want to make sure we provide a safe environment for the fans, the artists and our employees. We are working on some initiatives to keep the brand alive in 2020 that you should be hearing about, but until then, stay safe and we will see you in 2021.”
Catherine M. Cahill, the CEO and President of The Mann dropped the bomb this afternoon, saying “The comfort, safety, and well-being of our patrons, artists, volunteers, and staff is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution and as directed by the City of Philadelphia, we have made the difficult decision to suspend the Mann’s traditional season for summer 2020. This is a heart-wrenching development, but one we share with arts organizations across the region and the world. The music will be back in 2021; we are simply on an extended intermission, and we are looking forward to saving you a seat.”
The email blast went on to say that, “The Mann Center for the Performing Arts is a non-profit organization that relies on a combination of earned revenue from ticket, concession, and parking sales as well as rentals, public funding, and the generous contributions of individual, corporate, and foundation donors. With the loss of the traditional 2020 concert season, the Mann is working to close a $2 million gap for the year. While this is not an insurmountable challenge, it is one we must address now. To help, we have launched the Let the Music Play Resiliency Fund for the Mann, a historic, emergency fund to support the Mann’s annual fund and continued Education and Community Engagement programming that immediately went virtual at the outset of the pandemic’s arrival in the greater Philadelphia area.”