Fiestas, one of the largest and most expensive events on campus, has been canceled for 2020.
The Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) announced the event’s cancellation over a press release Thursday. Student Special Events (SSE), the ASUNM entity that hosts the densely-populated event, canceled Fiestas because of the growing spread of the novel coronavirus.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, there are six cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico as of March 12. Shortly before the fifth case was announced, the New Mexico Secretary of Health banned large gatherings over 100 people.
“Putting on my own festival as executive director has been a dream of mine for two years,” SSE Executive Director Ethan Duff said.
Duff said it wouldn’t be worth having the event if people were to get sick.
Fiestas typically pulls thousands of students and UNM community members to Johnson Field for a free music festival paid for by the undergraduate student government fee. Duff said SSE would not reveal the 2020 line-up, despite the cancellation. He said he didn’t want to get students excited for an event that wasn’t going to happen.
These acts typically do not perform for cheap.
Last year, ASUNM gave out about $83,000 to SSE for Fiestas, according to the Student Governing Accountant Office. That is down from 2018’s total of about $99,000.
Duff didn’t say if or how much money SSE might lose. However, he said that Fiestas’ clients were understanding of the situation. He said several of their clients said there wouldn’t be a penalty for prematurely ending contracts.
Unspent money will revert back into ASUNM’s general fund. Typically, ASUNM redistributes what is left over. Fiestas was scheduled for April 4.
Justin Garcia is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Just516garc