Annual Free Health Clinic Postponed for Zac Brown Band Concert
An annual health clinic that serves some 3,000 lower income and uninsured individuals in Washington State and beyond has been postponed for 2022 to facilitate concerts for the Zac Brown Band and The Who. Organizers are especially concerned since large portions of the clinic have not occurred over the previous two years due to the pandemic.
Founded in 2014, the Seattle/King County Clinic held annually at the city’s Key Arena (now called the Climate Pledge Arena) offers free dental, vision, and medical screenings and treatments for individuals who otherwise cannot access these services, regularly drawing individuals from across Washington, as well as Oregon and Idaho, and offering sometimes lifesaving screenings for things like Cancer.
Some of the participants in the medical clinic are homeless, but others are employed and sometimes even insured, but still cannot access or afford all of the services they need. Individuals sometimes line up 24 hours in advance to take advantage of the program. The clinic is staffed by volunteers from the medical profession.
The previously-scheduled window for the clinic in 2022 was during the third week of October, but it has been postponed by the owners of Climate Pledge Arena to facilitate the booking of music concerts over the time period, namely the Zac Brown Band on October 20th, and The Who on October 22nd.
Climate Pledge Arena is owned and operated by the Oak View Group, which took over the property in 2017. Amazon purchased the naming rights for the arena in 2020. It is where Seattle’s NHL and WNBA teams play, and is the previous home of the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics.
As part of the operating agreement with the Seattle Center complex, Oak View agreed they would continue to host the annual clinic. Just as the clinic organizers were targeting the dates in October as the only dates that would work in 2022 due to the amount of medical equipment needed to be rented and other logistical concerns, Oak View Group booked the music concerts, locking the free clinic out, which now may not occur in full until April of 2023.
“In its six years of operation, Seattle/King County Clinic (SKCC) has been able to provide $20 million in dental, vision, medical and social services to 23,000 patients because of valuable support from partners, donors, volunteers and the greater community,” reads a petition set up by Dr. Rick Arnold, who is one of the clinic’s medical directors.
“In this time of great impact on our healthcare system, it is more important than ever that we all meet our obligations to one another,” Dr. Arnold continues. “This includes corporate entities like The Oakview Group, which manages Climate Pledge Arena. Unfortunately The Oakview Group has backed out of the previously agreed upon dates for the Clinic in 2022, choosing instead to book other events in Climate Pledge Arena on those dates.”
The Oak View Group said in a statement that they are committed to bringing back the clinic in the future, including working toward the April 2023 date. “Both OVG and Seattle Center view this as a cherished community resource and understand its importance,” reads a statement. But with the new date being over a year away, and the clinic delayed over the last two years, organizers are concerned that those who rely on the annual clinic will fall through the cracks.
It is unlikely the Zac Brown Band or their booking agents knew of the conflict with the October 2020 date with the annual free health clinic. That is why the call has been put out by the clinic’s organizers to let the greater public know about the scheduling conflict. Due to the pandemic, many venues, performers, and promoters are also scrambling to secure dates and places to make up for lost time over the past two years, including some who’ve been holding over purchased tickets since early 2020. But Zac Brown Band may be able to reschedule to a different date, while the complex logistics of the health clinic means it can’t.
“For an organization that portrays themselves as community minded, this was not a community-oriented act,” Dr. Arnold tells Crosscut. “I want Oak View Group to be better partners going forward, to treat us like any other rock band and honor the commitments they make, particularly to those folks who don’t have a voice.”
March 13, 2022 @ 10:54 am
Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group’s “integrity” lies at the bottom of his coffers.
Buried under his $ billions.
The Annual Free Health Clinic at “Climate Pledge Arena” (laughing), will not put $’s in Leiweke’s pockets like The Who concert will.
The health clinic can be held at any large University, or school gym, on multiple dates.
Drew blood for health clinics, and helped to collate drawn specimens, in the OK/TX Panhandle, for 10 years. During the week after the Saturday clinics, when we didn’t have patients on the table, all of us in radiology would run down to lab, and help stuff envelopes with the patients lab draw results.
Our group(s) ran like a well oiled machine, because our friends in the lab were on it!
All we had to do was chit-chat with the patients, draw blood, collate, & stuff envelopes, after.
Although not as ideal as having it at the arena they were promised, the Washington State community(ies) can gather the voluntary personnel & equipment necessary to still hold the clinic.
Oak View Group – looking at you.
March 14, 2022 @ 5:30 am
“Climate Pledge Arena”
Can’t wait for Zac Brown’s alternative pledge of allegiance.
Sir Adam the Great
March 13, 2022 @ 11:17 am
“Climate Pledge Arena”?
Was “Virtue Signal Center” taken?
March 13, 2022 @ 11:26 am
I can’t think of a better illustration of how American corporations are using virtue signaling as a shield than the name of that arena. And what’s even more demoralizing is the fact that it works.
March 14, 2022 @ 12:33 pm
I don’t know about it working. Bezos is definitely unpopular in the area despite employing a substantial number of people. And nobody calls it Climate Pledge as far as I know, just the arena, or key arena even though it is basically a new thing. Fuck I don’t know maybe sports fans call it that. I didn’t even know Amazon owned it actually. Also good find on this story, have not seen anything about it locally.
March 13, 2022 @ 11:45 am
In fact, will happily volunteer to come out to Washington State for their Health Clinic, to draw blood, if an organizer wants to get in touch. 2 week heads up would be good.
March 13, 2022 @ 1:56 pm
Regardless of the poor quality of music that Zac Brown has put out lately I do still believe that he’s not a bad person, he’s given me no reason to think otherwise. As such you have to imagine he will move the concert date to accommodate the health clinic. But man if he doesn’t…
March 13, 2022 @ 2:15 pm
This has nothing to do with Zac Brown, & everything to do with the greed of Tim Leiweke – CEO, Oak View Group.
March 13, 2022 @ 4:36 pm
What a greedy oligarch.
March 13, 2022 @ 6:47 pm
For a minute there I was afraid The Who — such as it is — was letting Zac Brown open.
March 19, 2022 @ 6:12 pm
Boy this annoys me like you wouldn’t believe. The only positive thing I’ll say is that it’s a sign of how far The Who has fallen since John Entwistle has passed. While Entwistle has gotten a lot of undeserved flack for making The Who keep touring following Moon’s death, one thing he was staunch on was not pulling crap like this because whatever he did it was to make the fans happy. In fact he actually turned down a guest appearance back in the eighties because of a similar situation because he knew it’d make him a bad guy. Hard to believe the guy known for the dark songs had he biggest heart and class