PHOENIX — Update (June 12, 2020): Plans to throw a two-day party for Arizona's Class of 2020, who had their graduations and proms canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, have been canceled after organizers were unable to secure a permit and COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Arizona.
"Unfortunately due to the rise in numbers of COVID-19 cases, we cannot secure a permit for an event of this magnitude. We really appreciate all of the support we've had for this event," said a post on the event's Instagram page. "We tried our best to make it happen. Unfortunately, the virus is not giving up, and we can't safely hold a massive event like this."
The event was originally called "Promchella," but was changed to "AZ Prom Experience" after Coachella's legal team reportedly got wind of the event. For what it's worth, Coachella and Stagecoach announced this week that their events, which were rescheduled for October, would not happen this year because of the pandemic.
Prom is one of the biggest spring events for high school juniors and seniors, but because of COVID-19, schools have closed, graduations have been canceled, and the future of prom is up in the air.
No prom also means a loss of business for clothing stores like Nick’s Menswear, an Arizona-based clothes who typically sells suits to thousands of high school kids each year.
“We’re a small business and our stores are closed,” said Josh Fink, general manager at Nick’s Menswear. “We’re struggling and we’re trying to create something big and some hope.”
He said he came up with an idea about a month ago that he hopes will be a win-win for high school students who feel prom was taken away from them, to help his business survive, and a way to help other small businesses who may be struggling.
It’s called “Promchella.”
The event is described as a two-day music festival with DJs, music acts, food trucks, local vendors, that culminates with a evening fireworks show.
Currently, it is scheduled for July 17 & 18, 2020, assuming state-wide restrictions on large gatherings and national guidelines for social distancing are lifted. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order is in effect through April 30.
Tickets are $70-$80, which include a $20 food credit, according to the website. A location isn’t listed, but Fink said he is in talks venues and event planners in the state.
“This is more than just an idea,” he said. “The reason we picked July is because I believe the landscape is going to be different than it is today. We wanted to come out with a timeline to give kids hope.”
“We can’t mention venue because there are some restrictions on being able to book venues, but we have been in talks with the largest venues in Arizona. They all love the idea and are 100-percent on board,” he said.
Fink said Promchella would also benefit the community. He filed the organization as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
He said proceeds from the event would go on to benefit “families in need, businesses in need, and we’re currently in talks with local organizations that need help as well.” Specific organizations were not listed on the website.
“If this can happen, we are going to make it happen. The only way this wouldn’t happen, is if guidelines and regulations won’t allow a huge gathering at that time,” he said.
Visit https://www.promchellaaz.com for more information.