I’ve had a very hard time trying to decide whether to hold Brandywine. Especially right now, getting together to play music with others is something that we’re all yearning for. It’s good for us, it’s who we are. And Brandywine has always been a time out of time, a place of comfort and happiness separate from the outside world. My thoughts have been that the festival is mostly outside, people can distance themselves, we can do away with the Feast and the Concert and, oh dear, the Margarita Party, and just sit around and play, with our masks on…. no food trucks…..I suppose it could be done.
I’ve been waiting, and trying to balance 3 things: 1) whether it would be legal; 2) the level of danger, based on the current data; and 3) the benefit to people’s psyche.
Right now, Chester County is still in the “Red Phase” (hate that moniker). It’s against the law to have large gatherings. Even when it moves to the Yellow phase, perhaps sometime in early June, gatherings of only 25 are allowed. So, unless the numbers get lots better in the coming weeks, it would not be legal to have Brandywine.
As we all know, we could probably do it and not get caught, as irresponsible as that might be. So, I’ve been monitoring the data in Chester County. Unfortunately, the number of cases shows no signs of decreasing. In fact, yesterday showed the highest number of positives so far—possibly because of increased testing— nevertheless, the numbers are not going down. On May 4 alone, 30 people died in Chester County. The number of reported cases is now over 1900.
The demographic of those who come to Brandywine is high-risk. Dang.
So, does the psychological benefit of playing together and getting together with those you love outweigh the risk? I’ve always felt that Brandywine is important because it’s good for us. So it’s been really hard for me cancel it. I feel like I’m letting people down. I’ve thought of just allowing people to come and camp and take their own chances, sort of like going to a park. But here’s the thing. How would you feel if you gave it to someone, even unknowingly? I couldn’t live with it if anyone came to Brandywine at my invitation and got sick.
I’ve stayed home from work for 2 months, mainly to protect Walt, who is at risk because he lost his spleen when he was young. If I get it, it’s bad enough, but I wouldn’t be able to handle the thought of getting it and giving it to Walt. There’s just too much risk of losing a loved one, or a hated one, or anyone.
So, I won’t hold the physical festival this year. I hope to see you all next year. Stay home. Stay safe. As Queen Elizabeth said, we will meet again.
All the best,