Texas Standard for Aug. 17, 2023: Tours from Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are big for local economies

Beyond massive paydays for the artists and their promoters, the Eras and Renaissance tours are generating huge spending on everything from concert tickets and merch to spillover effects on travel, clothing and more.

By Texas StandardAugust 17, 2023 9:02 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023:

What you should know about COVID and its new strain, Eris

The World Health Organization is monitoring a new strain of COVID-19: EG.5, or “Eris.” The WHO deems it a “variant of interest” and says it accounts for a growing share of cases in multiple countries, including the U.S. Global health officials will continue to monitor Eris to see how it might mutate, but for now the experts say the risk at a global level is expected to be in line with other variants currently in circulation.

Here to tell us more is Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious diseases epidemiologist at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health.

Tommy Tuberville is blocking military promotions – and it’s affecting service members

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville is blocking hundreds of military nominations and promotions, in an attempt to change the Pentagon’s policy on abortion.

For the American Homefront Project, Texas Public Radio’s Carson Frame reports on the impact the move has on service members.

The Maui fires and the reaction on social media

Wildfires in Maui are blamed for more than 100 deaths, destroying countless homes and businesses on the island. Maui is an extremely popular vacation destination, so the fires have also had a profound effect on the area’s tourism-based economy. All of this has led to a wave of reactions on social media, some which produced a backlash.

Tech expert Omar Gallaga wrote about the social media response to the Maui wildfires for the website Level and joins us with his thoughts.

Could success in a Montana court mean more climate change lawsuits?

A Montana judge handed down a landmark ruling this week in favor of a group of young plaintiffs who had sued the state over its responsibility for climate change. At issue was the state’s failure to consider climate change when approving fossil fuel projects. Montana’s constitution guarantees its residents “the right to a safe and healthful environment.” The first-of-its-kind victory will almost certainly mean more lawsuits — but will there be more victories for the plaintiffs?

Texas A&M University School of Law’s Vanessa Casado-Pérez joins us with more.

Tours from Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are so big, they’re impacting local economies

$1 billion: that’s how much Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour could take in this summer. And Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour could top that record-setting pace.

But beyond massive paydays for the artists and their promoters, the tours represent real impacts on the local economies where the tours are stopping, with spending on everything from concert tickets and merch to spillover effects on travel, clothing and more. Jordyn Holman and Jeanna Smialek looked into the phenomenon for The New York Times. Holman joins us today.

More Texas springs are going dry amid blistering heat

Excessive heat warnings and drought conditions continue to persist across Texas with much of the Hill Country now under the “extreme” level of drought designation. Coupled with Texas’ ongoing population growth, it’s straining many resources – but perhaps not one more crucial than water. One need to look no farther than the state’s aquifers for the warning signs.

Inside Climate News reporter Dylan Baddour joins us with more.

All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Wells Dunbar with the Talk of Texas.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.