The rock band Pearl Jam’s decision to cancel its concert in Raleigh last week cost four local hotels a total of $60,000, as the list of groups reconsidering events in Wake County because of HB2 continues to grow, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported Monday.
The bureau reported that a total of 29 groups may cancel plans to hold events in Wake County, putting $34 million in estimated future spending at risk. Last week, the bureau reported that 20 groups were reconsidering Wake, putting $28 million in jeopardy.
The bureau didn’t disclose all the names of the groups that are reconsidering but its report included what it says are comments from event organizers concerned about HB2, the controversial new law that prevents people from using the bathroom meant for the gender with which they identify.
The bureau reported last week that Wake County has already lost out on $3.2 million in economic spending as a result of the new law. Six event organizers canceled their plans, and two events reported smaller attendance by April 18, the bureau reported last week.
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On Monday, the bureau reported that Pearl Jam’s decision to cancel its April 20 show at PNC Arena affected four local hotels that expected to host tour members. The concert would have brought a total of 142 people for 317 hotel room nights and generated $60,999 in local spending, the bureau reported.
Wake’s HB2-related event cancellations until last week had mostly affected Raleigh venues like the downtown Holiday Inn, the Marriott City Center and the Raleigh Convention Center. The Pearl Jam cancellation cost The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary 33 people for three nights, the bureau reported. The bureau estimated the lost economic spending around The Umstead at $15,417.
The bureau’s third weekly report on the effects of HB2 comes as thousands of people protested the law Monday when state lawmakers returned to Raleigh for the start of this year’s legislative session.
The Republican-led state General Assembly adopted the law during a special session last month after Charlotte passed its own ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom meant for the gender with which they identify.
Supporters say HB2 protects women and children from harassment in the bathroom, while opponents say it is insensitive to the needs and rights of transgender people and other minorities.
Leaders of the visitors bureau and Wake County Economic Development say the law hurts tourism efforts and makes North Carolina less appealing to businesses that might want to move here.
Defenders of HB2, such as state Reps. Paul “Skip” Stam and Nelson Dollar of Wake County, have urged patience, saying the hotels have time to replace the lost occupants. Pearl Jam’s announcement came just two days before its scheduled concert in Raleigh.