The COVID-19 pandemic presented a minor math problem for event organizers that seems fairly straightforward and simple to solve. If you promote an annual happening, and it was canceled in 2020, then that year shouldn’t count when you add up how many times the event has occurred. When you announce in 2021 that the whatever annual Whatever Festival is coming up, it should be the same number that it was supposed to be in 2020.
I mean, that’s obvious, right? If I give you an apple every year for 14 years, and last year I didn’t give you one, then the apple I give you this year is the 15th apple, right? It’s not the 16th apple just because I wanted to give you one last year and couldn’t.
The math is fairly straightforward, and for the most part people are getting it right. Take for instance Duluth’s Bayfront Reggae and World Music Festival. The inaugural event was held in 2006. The 2020 event was to be the 15th annual, but it was canceled. Therefore, the promoter is referring to this year’s event as the 15th annual. And that is correct. The 2021 festival will be the 15th in the series.
But I’ve known for quite a while that keeping track of how many times an event has happened in the past isn’t always the top priority of the organizers, who let’s remember have an event to organize with all the tasks that go with it. On one hand, you’d think being willing to get involved in organizing everyone else’s fun might be a thing only math-obsessed nerds do, but that’s just not the case.