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Squonk says world premiere of ‘Hand to Hand’ will go on despite Regatta cancelation

By July 30, 2019 No Comments

By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor

The announcement that today’s EQT Three Rivers Regatta would be canceled affected obvious events like boat racing. But it’s also taking its toll on the world premiere of Squonk’s new performance piece Hand to Hand.

Squonk founders, Steve O’Hearn and Jackie Dempsey, said they learned of the event cancelation earlier today and they were left without a venue for their new piece. However, a short time ago, Dempsey told the Pittsburgh Current that the show would go on.

“We are on for doing multiple shows on Saturday evening downtown,” Dempsey said. “More info/official announcement to come tomorrow.”

Information will be updated as it becomes available.

Squonk, originally called Squonk Opera, is a fascinating blend of musicians, artists, designers, and other creatives coming together to put on large outdoor spectacles for public consumption. The shows often involve large props or set pieces that the musicians interact with in various ways.

The Regatta Board canceled the event after the regatta’s event management company, Lionheart Event Group, had not paid the city, Point State Park and many other vendors.

Mayor William Peduto released the following statement in the wake of this morning’s announcement by the board of directors of the Three Rivers Regatta that they are canceling this year’s event:

“Over the past week, my administration learned that the event management firm for the regatta, LionHeart Event Group, has not paid the City for police services the past two years, and learned the state-owned Point State Park and private vendors had not received payments either. I shared this information with members of the board and worked with them on alternative plans to possibly hold the regatta on the North Shore instead. 

Efforts to save this year’s regatta were ongoing when it became apparent that LionHeart had not secured the mandatory insurance to hold the event either. At this point, the regatta board decided to cancel the event, notified the City and County of its decision, and withdrew its application for a City permit. 

I want to thank the board and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for their efforts to save this decades-old Pittsburgh tradition and will continue to work with them to secure the regatta’s future.” 

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