Summer of 2020 has looked distinctly different than any other summer in recent memory, and for so many of us, a getaway to recharge and clear our heads is exactly what is in order. Utopia is a four-day LGBTQ open-air retreat located on a private lake in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains. The event will take place September 4-7, over Labor Day Weekend. Two hours outside of New York on a 500-acre site, this event will serve as the first chance that the LGBTQ+ community will have to come together all summer. The intent is for people to come together, relax and reconnect with friends in an environment with robust safety protocols. The retreat will feature beach activities, yoga, hiking, campfires, sports, along with outdoor stages, performances and music by DJ’s Dan Slater, Joe Pacheco, and Spencer H.
Many unsanctioned events this summer have been received a great deal of criticism their overall disregard of health and safety regulation. Producer Jake Resnicow is aware of that and is ensuring that Utopia is approaching the idea with a far more cautious method. First off, capacity; the retreat will allow only 225 guests. All guests must wear facial coverings when there is a possibility of coming within six feet of others. Masks will also be required indoors and in music areas. Resnicow has made a living producing events for the LGBTQ+ community, and this one is no exception. With Utopia, he has pledged to donate $50 from each Utopia pass sold to provide grants for LGBTQ+ artists and nightlife workers in need. Grants will be administered by a registered 501(c)(3) on a first-come first-serve basis to qualified applicants.“This is not a money-making endeavor,” Resnicow says. “My goal is to give back to our community and pave the way to be able to once again host large events, safely and responsibly.”
Resnicow is aware that testing is one of the areas that our own government is lacking in and it is his intent is simple; get people, tested. “People are going to gather, whether they are allowed to or not,” Resnicow continues. “Our mission is to get people tested. We’re trying to find a way in this new world to provide jobs and get an entire industry restarted on a small scale.” The actual accuracy of the tests is also something that Resnicow has taken into consideration; Resnicow has partnered with industry leader Tested Contained Retreats with that in mind. “There have been studies that show that even a very accurate test can miss a COVID-19 diagnosis if there’s not enough virus currently in the system to test, potentially at the very beginning of exposure. This is why we’re performing two tests, three days apart. Both of the tests we’re using have clinical studies provided by the labs that manufacture the tests that show no false negatives in their sample sizes.”
Additionally, everyone (including staff and vendors) will be required to adhere to the two-part testing mandate. “We want to do more than the government is doing,” Resnicow says. “Two-Part Testing covers a broader time span than just one test. It catches an infection before guests leave their home area and confirms there is no infection once again upon arrival.” Part one takes place three days prior to the event. Medical technicians will test attendees at multiple open-air settings around the tri-state area. There will also be the option for an at-home mail-in test. Given a negative diagnosis, guests are then sent the event address. Part two will take place upon arrival. Guests will be guided into distanced parking spaces and remain in their cars, spaced 20 feet apart, to receive a temperature test and final active COVID-19 test. Results from this second test will be available within 15 minutes. Only upon the second negative diagnosis will guests be directed to their cabin — housed at 50% capacity, with a maximum of four people — and required to attend a group orientation and stay on the grounds at all times. For any positive tests, the individual and any other persons in their vehicle will not be allowed to enter and directed to return home and quarantine. They’ll be issued a refund of their ticket and given a 50% code for the next event.
All-Access Passes for Utopia, including four-day/three-night accommodations, start at $699. Each boutique cabin has its own private bathroom, shower, A/C and heat. For more information, visit TakeMeToUtopia.com