(CNN) — At first it was Covid. Now it's monkeypox. Organizers of a free concert at an upcoming LGBTQ festival known as Southern Decadence in New Orleans have canceled the concert due to the threat of monkeypox.The larger six-day festival September 1-5 will continue as planned, as it always has since 1973 with the exception of when there were hurricanes and the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The popular event typically attracts about 250,000 people. But organizers of the concert thought that with the rise in monkeypox cases, particularly among gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, and men who have sex with men, it wasn't worth the risk.Monkeypox is spread through close skin to skin contact.
While not a sexually transmitted disease the majority of cases in this particular outbreak in the US have been through sexual contact, skin to skin, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The concert is outdoors, but its big name performers like Deborah Cox, Jennifer Holliday and the Weather Girls, draw large crowds.It is what organizer Chuck Robinson described as "hot, sweaty, people gathered in a street for blocks 21 deep, people have their shirts off.
They're shoulder to shoulder dancing, as they should [to] celebrate a lifestyle through music and the concert, that is wonderful—but danger for Monkeypox," Robinson told CNN.Organizers of the festival said they are working closely with the Louisiana Department of Health.