For the past two years, MayDay Parade announcements have been a wild ride.
Last year, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre announced that in order to survive financially, they would be cutting back on staff and programs, and that most likely would include the end of the beloved MayDay Parade and Festival.
When the presumed final gathering happened this spring, it was a wild success. Online donations nearly doubled, the crowds at the event swelled by 25 percent, and, miraculously, the event managed to turn a profit.
Suddenly, a 2020 parade was back on the table.
“There are so many people that feel ownership of MayDay; the next stage for us is to listen to our neighbors and figure out what other people think are the most important pieces of MayDay to carry forward,” Corrie Zoll, HOBT's executive director, told us in January.
A series of meetings were held to gain insight as to what the future should look like for the event. After listening to neighbors, the organization has realized that they’re not just up against financial uncertainty, they’re also facing an identity crisis.
“Over the last four months, we… have heard from more than 500 community members and artists,” a release sent out last night states. “Themes drawn from this feedback support what we have known for years but have only now documented: MayDay in its current form is not only unsustainable financially and logistically, the creation process systematically marginalizes and appropriates the work of artists of color.”
This new obstacle means that there will be no parade in 2020. This will be the first time the event hasn’t ushered in spring in the past 45 years.
In the coming months, HOBT will continue to raise funds and discuss how the parade and festival can evolve to be more inclusive and equitable to its participants.
“HOBT can choose either to produce the MayDay celebration,” the release states, “or to invest our time and resources in rebuilding that celebration to equitably and resiliently continue... We
cannot do both. In the interest of the long-term value of this MayDay celebration, we choose to rebuild.”