Back in the Groove After the Storm

A street in NYC after Hurricane Sandy.

(from New York Times, November 4, 2012) It is obvious that Hurricane Sandy has had a major effect on the Northeastern part of the country in recent weeks. Major damage has occurred and this is having negative impacts on many industries. The live entertainment industry is no exception; specifically, the Jazz musicians and fans in New York.

The Jazz clubs all closed the weekend before Sandy hit, and did not reopen until November 3, and while their set felt normal the night they re-opened, the fans still commented on how bizarre and unsettling it was to have the cubs closed during the week. It was unsettling for the fans because these Jazz clubs are regarded as always being open and welcoming, and the closing made the dangers of Sandy more real. While the musicians, fans, and club owners all agree that “priorities have changed,” and they could have been affected worse by the storm, they are still dealing with negative economic impacts.

The clubs were closed for safety reasons and then because they all lost power. Clearly this meant cancelled bookings, and thousands of dollars in revenue were lost. The Jazz Foundation of America sent out an email about the needs of the musicians during the storm. A few required water, warmth, or food. Others however were in need of money since they were unable to perform or to travel to a gig. The executive director of the Jazz Foundation of America, Wendy Oxenhorn, drove from one address to the next looking for musicians without power or phone service, who needed assistance.

Luckily, Hurricane Sandy only caused a minor interruption to this industry, when compared with other areas affected by the storm. The mood of fans has been relieved, especially when their familiar hangouts began to re-open. While there is no physical damage to fix in this area, there is definitely missing revenue that cannot be recovered. Many of the cancelled shows cannot be rescheduled until next year so money will remain tight.