Air quality alerts are leading to event cancellations across metro Detroit and forcing event planners to get creative.

Air quality alerts are leading to event cancellations across metro Detroit and forcing event planners to get creative.

The ongoing alerts also beg the question as to whether this is the new normal for the coming months.

In historic Chelsea, there are 10 stages throughout town for the Sounds and Sights Art Festival. Community members can listen to live music in June and July every Thursday evening. However, because of the poor air quality, they’re moving the music inside and continuing the shows responsibly.

The show must go on as they say,” said Terris Ahrens, the executive director of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce.

While the Rumpus Room serves as one venue for live music, unfortunately Thursday morning, the Chelsea Police Department announced it had no choice but to cancel its appearance for the night.

Their aspect of it cant really be moved indoors,” Ahrens explained.

“They had a dunk tank. They have fire trucks and wrecked cars, and theres no way to do that inside. So, theyre canceling with a reschedule date to be determined,” he said.

When it comes to the music, Ahrens said, “We are pivoting because, to be perfectly honest, we can move most of the bands inside. We have great community with a ton of establishments that are happy to have these bands.”

He said there’s entertainment for all ages. But how long will the community have to adjust?

7 Action News spoke with Dr. Ike Okereke, the division chief of thoracic surgery at Henry Ford Health and a researcher on pollution’s health effects in urban areas.

When asked if this air quality is the new norm for the foreseeable future, he said action will need to be taken “on an individual, community, state and federal level or else, this will be the new norm and things will get worse.”

Okereke explained, “We expect that with increased climate change, there will be more wildfires, not just in Canada but in this country, which will increase pollution.”

In the festivals two-year existence, Ahrens said this is only the second time the series had to adjust. The first time was two weeks ago because of the rain.

“Same solution for a different problem,” he said.

Now with the potential for more of these air quality alerts through the summer, contingency plans are being put in place.

After we did the rain day two weeks ago, it occurred to us that (moving indoors) could work,” he said.

“So moving forward, we even have plans in future seasons to have all the rain locations picked out before our Sounds and Sights season even starts. The bands and the locations will already know. Itll be in the marketing. So, the attendees will already know that sounds and sights is never canceled.”

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