When the concert COVID-19 concert cancellation cascade started in early March of 2020, we started compiling a list of all the scheduled shows, tours, and festivals affected by the outbreak. As the situation worsened over the course of the ensuing days, it became clear that documenting every canceled/postponed show was a fool’s errand. We quickly pivoted to building a list of concerts that were still not canceled. That list, too, rapidly proved to be pointless. To borrow a concept from the sports world, there’s no need for a box score if the whole game is rained out.
Rather than tell you all of the events that have been canceled, postponed, or changed due to COVID, this article will track the elongation of the coronavirus concert shutdowns as they continue to develop. We’ll keep you updated as the threshold of cancellations continues to move into 2021 and 2022, keep you up to date on testing and vaccination policies, keep general tabs on the coronavirus’ constantly evolving disruption of the concert industry, and highlight what measures the industry is taking to adapt.
More so than any piece we’ve ever published, we hope this page becomes irrelevant as soon as possible. Until then, check back to keep tabs on the status of live concerts and events in the era of COVID-19.
[Note: In these uncertain times, we have to rely on the help of our community. If you notice that something is missing or if you have any new updates to report on this front, you can reach out to Andrew O’Brien at email@example.com]
[Originally published 3/19/20]
Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
Dave Matthews Band has canceled a pair of upcoming shows in Durant, OK due to the group’s inability to implement its COVID-19 safety protocols at the planned venue.
According to a statement from the band on the canceled shows, previously slated to take place on October 15th and 16th at the Grand Theater at Choctaw Casino & Resort, “Unfortunately, it was not possible to implement the band’s Covid-19 policies in this venue. Refunds will be issued at the point of purchase.”
Dave Matthews Band has been on tour since late July. In early August, as the delta variant continued to spread, the band announced blanket COVID-19 protocols for all upcoming tour dates beginning on August 21st at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The protocols mirrored what has since become an industry standard: attendees must provide proof of full vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter and are encouraged—though not required—to wear a mask.
Even with those policies in place, DMB experienced firsthand how quickly COVID-19 can still upend the best laid plans. Over Labor Day Weekend, the band was forced to perform without drummer Carter Beauford and bassist Stefan Lessard after both were exposed to the virus ahead of the band’s run at The Gorge.
The Durant, OK cancellation announcement did not give a specific reason why the band was unable to implement its protocols at the venue. Read more here.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
Twiddle has canceled a number of early-October tour dates due to COVID-19 case numbers. As the band noted in an announcement, “Due to the current COVID case numbers in parts of the US, we have decided to start our tour later this fall. The September 30 – October 16 dates are cancelled. Refunds will be issued at point of purchase. The tour will now begin on October 19 in Phoenix AZ and continue as previously announced.”
The tour was initially slated to resume on 9/30 in State College, PA and continue through the Southeast. Canceled stops include shows in Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Texas.
For an updated list of upcoming Twiddle tour dates, head here.
Thursday, September 9, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
Dispatch canceled all of its planned fall 2021 acoustic tour dates on Friday. As the band noted in an announcement, “When it comes down to it, ensuring the health and safety of those in the audience and onstage is of the utmost importance to us, and there were no guarantees this would be the case given the current state of COVID-19, and a fully indoor tour. We all need to rally to make sure this pandemic comes to a long overdue end.”
In Colorado, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is aiming to address the concern over indoor shows by requiring all attendees over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated starting on October 1st. Children under 12 will also need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Friday, September 3, 2021, 6:00 p.m. ET
Dave Matthews Band has announced that this weekend’s shows at The Gorge will take place in an “alternate format” due to COVID-19 exposure within the band’s organization.
As the band’s statement notes, “Despite thorough safety protocols, a potential exposure to the Covid-19 virus within the organization has taken place. In the best interest of everyone’s health and safety, Dave Matthews Band will perform this weekend’s shows in an alternate format. We love playing the Gorge and are grateful to all of you who are joining us this weekend.”
The details of this “alternate format” were not immediately revealed. Dave Matthews Band’s annual Labor Day Weekend run at The Gorge is set to take place Friday–Sunday, September 3rd–6th. For updates, head here.
[UPDATE 9/4/21]: With bassist Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford out due to positive COVID-19 tests, the band played with the lineup throughout Friday’s show at the Gorge. Matthews appeared solo, with Tim Reynolds, with the remainder of the usual band lineup, and in a hybrid formation with members of opening act Dumpstaphunk. The run continued on Saturday and Sunday in similar fashion with guest spots from Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples, and more. Check out videos from the show here.
Friday, September 3, 2021, 2:00 p.m. ET
Dinosaur Jr. has postponed the first leg of its fall tour due to continued COVID-19 concerns. The nearly 20-date national theater trek was due to begin on September 10th and stretch through October 2nd.
The alt-rock outfit has not yet made a call on the scheduled second leg of the tour, set to begin with a show at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville on November 12th. As the band’s announcement notes, “In the hope that conditions improve in the coming weeks, the band intends to proceed with the November 2021 and all 2022 dates as planned.” The announcement noted that information on the rescheduled September dates will be available soon.
As guitarist J. Mascis said in a statement, “I’m really bummed that we’re not playing these shows. I miss touring and miss all of you. I’m grateful for your understanding, and I hope all of you are able to stay safe.”
Yola also announced on Friday afternoon the postponement of several shows after testing positive for COVID-19 herself. While the announcement notes that the singer-songwriter is fully vaccinated and “feeling ok with only mild symptoms at this time,” the positive test will keep her from performing at both Summerfest in Milwaukee today and Jazz Aspen Snowmass on Sunday.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET
As COVID cases continue to surge as a result of the delta variant, Park City Song Summit has elected to postpone this year’s event to 2022. After initially installing advanced safety measures last month, organizers have moved to ultimately postpone the event as the Park City area is inundated with new cases.
“Our ICUs are at 100% capacity,” Park City Song Summit founder Ben Anderson said in a statement. “Our county went from ‘MODERATE’ to ‘HIGH’ level of transmission late last week. School-age children are being admitted in increasing numbers to our local hospitals with the Covid delta variant. And late last week we matched our single day high for new positive Covid cases. After countless conversations with top health officials, infectious disease experts, and local government, we cannot hold this multi-day, festival-style event safely at this time and will therefore need to postpone the Song Summit until 2022. This is the statement I never wanted to write, but it’s what the current Covid climate has required us to do.”
Organizers noted that they are targeting September 8th–11th, 2022 for its rescheduled dates. Refunds will be issued to ticketholders within 14 business days.
While the safety of audiences is a top priority for artists and promoters, the musicians themselves aren’t immune to the effects of COVID as KISS fans have seen over the past week. After postponing several concerts last week due to Paul Stanley‘s positive COVID test, the makeup-wearing shock rockers were forced this week to postpone four more shows as Gene Simmons also tested positive for the virus. The band’s End Of The Road tour is set to resume on September 9th at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA.
Similarly, Umphrey’s McGee was just forced to cancel eight upcoming tour dates after a member of the band’s touring team tested positive for COVID-19. “We were eagerly looking forward to the shows and despite our best efforts to keep everyone healthy, we have to do what is right. We hope to return to these cities sometime in 2022,” the band noted in a statement. “Onward & upward.”
Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
As concert cancellations due to the coronavirus start to slow down, Mother Nature continues to remind us that pandemics don’t have a copyright on capsizing shows. On Tuesday, Bonnaroo canceled its 2021 festival at the eleventh hour due to heavy rain on the Manchester, TN grounds in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
While this latest blow to Bonnaroo was not dealt directly by COVID-19, the festival was only due to take place this weekend due to several prior pandemic-related postponements dating back to early March, 2020. The continued threat of the pandemic surely factored into the decision to cancel, as well; in recent weeks, much of the festival’s public messaging had focused on COVID-19 safety info and protocols as cases continued to spike.
Of note, since the last edition of the festival took place in the summer of 2019, Bonnaroo has announced five different sets of dates. Here’s hoping the latest—the event’s customary weekend in June of 2022—actually gets to happen.
Monday, August 23, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET
While the massive We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert went forward on Saturday—with a reported 60,000 fully vaccinated fans in attendance—the show was cut short early for lightning and what would prove to be a historic hour of rainfall.
The disruption of the massive event on Central Park’s Great Lawn, while not COVID-related, is oddly metaphorical of our current situation with regard to live music. The all-star Central Park show was intended to celebrate a return to normalcy for the city, but unforeseen obstacles remain ever-present—in this case, Mother Nature.
While the proverbial “show” is “going on” all over the country, the rapid spread of the delta variant continues to present unexpected obstacles the full return of live music. On Monday, Widespread Panic opted to push its five-night September run at New York’s Beacon Theatre—just a few blocks from Central Park—to January 2022, citing COVID concerns. When the rescheduled concerts take place in January, proof of full vaccination will be required for all attendees over the age of 12. When the shows were initially announced, they were among the first concerts added to the Beacon’s reopening schedule after more than a year with an empty house.
As the Athens, GA rockers said in a message to fans, “Since returning to live performance, the Band, Crew and Management have gone to great lengths and expense to ensure the safety of every soul in the venue. We are taking this pause to re-enforce our already stringent protocols. Bottom line – the COVID virus is relentless, and it loves an audience.”
For Widespread Panic, the continued reality of COVID transmission hits quite close to home, as frontman John Bell is likely still recovering from his recent bout with the virus. Infections within the ranks of bands continue to pose problems for touring acts. Lettuce, who just had to cancel a set a Summer Camp Music Festival due to a positive case in the band, announced on Monday that the band’s upcoming sets at Hot August Music Festival and Tedeschi Trucks Band‘s LOCKN’ Farm event have also been canceled.
One deciding factor for concerts in the coming months may be the ability to implement safety measures, from hosting shows outside to requiring proof of testing/vaccination status. Widespread Panic’s September Beacon run, for instance, may have fared differently if it had been slated for an outdoor venue, as was the case with We Love NYC. In that same vein, Phoebe Bridgers just announced an updated fall tour schedule that maintained roughly the same dates as her previously announced trek but moved all indoor shows to outdoor venues.
Even still, bands continue to forfeit 2021 tour dates by the day. On Friday, pop-country duo Florida Georgia Line canceled a 29-city tour featuring Russell Dickerson, Lauren Alaina, and Redferrin initially scheduled to begin in Atlanta, GA on September 24th and run through November 20th in Seattle.
“Although we’ve been able to see some of y’all at shows recently, everyone’s continued safety has been weighing heavy on us,” said Brian Kelley. “To our fans, band, crew, and all of the venues around the country, thank you for your love and support! We couldn’t do what we do without you, and we hope we can all do our part to bring live music back soon.”
In some states, the legal inability to enforce COVID safety protocols has also caused issues for artists and promoters. Florida governor Ron DeSantis, for example, recently banned venues and other institutions from requiring various safety precautions. While this technically opens up the possibility for concerts to resume “normally,” that same lack of regulation has also deterred many artists from playing in the state entirely.
Tom DeGeorge, the owner of Crowbar in Tampa’s Ybor City, spoke at length about the issue last week on local radio station 88.5 WMNF. “If we’re in a state that we can’t utilize 100% of the things that are out there to keep people safe, and you’re dealing with artists … that have to travel all over the country, I think we’re in big trouble,” he said. “I had Skip Marley scheduled in October. I didn’t even get a chance to announce that because he canceled before. And I already have several fall and winter dates that they have now held spring dates because they’re concerned that if we can’t get these cases down that, you know, they don’t want to come. … There’s going to be some bands who will come. But there’s going to be probably 60% of them that will not under these conditions. And in order to get it back, we need to be able to use all of our resources.”
Friday, August 20, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET
With international travel regulations still in flux due to COVID-19, K-Pop superstars BTS have officially canceled their scheduled Map of the Soul Tour, which was initially set for 2020 and later postponed to as-yet unspecified dates in 2021.
“Our company has worked hard to resume preparations for the BTS Map of the Soul Tour, knowing that all fans have been waiting eagerly and long for the tour,” the group’s label, Bighit, wrote in a statement. “However, due to changing circumstances beyond our control, it has become difficult to resume performances at the same scale and timeline as previously planned. Therefore we must announce the cancellation of the BTS Map of the Soul Tour.”
Back in the States, funk favorites Lettuce have pulled out of their planned set at Summer Camp Music Festival on Friday night due to COVID exposure within the band. As the group’s statement noted, “We have decided to cancel our show tonight at Summer Camp due to a COVID exposure internally. It is of utmost importance that we take all of the necessary precautions to keep our fans, band, crew and festival staff safe. We are following all of the proper guidelines. We can’t wait to get back out there with you all. Stay safe! Lettuce loves you.”
On the new COVID protocols front, Martinsville, VA’s Rooster Walk Festival has implemented the now-standard testing/vaccination protocols seen at shows and festivals aroun the U.S. in recent weeks.
Thursday, August 18, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
Lots of action on this front once again today as the live music world—now largely back on the road or preparing to head out—continues to confront the realities of this most recent surge.
As we’ve seen in the last several days around the country, events including Austin, TX’s ACL Fest and Wilkesboro, NC’s MerleFest announced the now-standard policy of proof of full vaccination/negative test within 72 hours to attend. The state of California also announced the requirement of proof of vaccination/negative test to all indoor gatherings of more than 1,000 people, lowering the threshold for the requirements from the previous cap of 5,000.
Based on one early example, such policies seem to have been effective in helping curb widespread transmission at large events. Three weeks ago, Lollapalooza took place in Chicago with testing/vaccination protocols and welcomed an estimated 400,000 people throughout the weekend.
In addition to reports from festival organizers of large numbers of attendees choosing to get vaccinated due to Lolla’s requirement, Chicago Health Department officials on Tuesday maintained that there have been no signs that the festival was a “super-spreader event.”
In a press conference, department Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said that statistics compiled by the city have not shown any significant impact on COVID case numbers since the event wrapped up more than two weeks ago. According to figures released by the city on Aug. 12, approximately 203 Lollapalooza attendees later tested positive for coronavirus. Of those, 58 were Chicago residents, and 138 were Illinois residents from elsewhere in the state. While the 200 cases are notable, that number represents less than one percent of the total attendees for the weekend.
“We’re not seeing any connection related to Lollapalooza,” Arwady said. “We’ve not had new data suggesting it was a super-spreader. We’ve not seen any change in terms of the demographics [of COVID-impacted patients] here in Chicago. We see no connection between that event, or any of the other large events that we’ve had.”
While the Chicago Department of Public Health does not think that Lolla or other large events are the issue, the continued rise in cases cannot be denied. During the same press conference in which the relative success of Lolla’s efforts to curb COVID transmission were referenced, the CDPH announced a new indoor mask mandate for the city, regardless of vaccination status.
Down on the Tennessee/Virginia Line, the Birthplace of Country Music is having some trouble with legal red tape when it comes to COVID protocols for the upcoming Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in September. When event organizers announced on Wednesday that legal restrictions were keeping them from requiring testing/vaccination, event headliner Jason Isbell—who has been public about requiring all of his own shows to abide by those protocols—opted to pull out of the festival.
While many artists are trying to figure out how to forge on, ever more are once again throwing in the towel. On Thursday, Nine Inch Nails canceled all of their scheduled 2021 appearances, while Neil Young announced that he was pulling out of his headlining roll at the upcoming Farm Aid benefit in Connecticut.
Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 4:30 p.m. ET
The picture of how large-scale concerts may proceed safely continued to develop on Wednesday with more announcements of updated safety policies.
Trey Anastasio Band disclosed new guidelines similar to the ones Phish, and an increasing number of artists, have implemented. These new precautions will require attendees to any of TAB’s summer shows to present either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours prior to when doors open for the concert. Trey Anastasio Band’s concerts at Radio City Music Hall in New York on October 2nd and 3rd will require proof of full vaccination for entry, a recent COVID test will not be accepted. For the band’s shows in Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; and Washington, DC, a negative test within 72 hours of the show is acceptable.
Utah’s Park City Song Summit has also revealed an extensive list of new safety protocols. The festival—still set to occur September 8th–12th in Park City, UT—will now require all attendees to be vaccinated, with the last dose received at least 14 days before the event. Additionally, all programming will now take place at The Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley, all staff will be vaccinated, all artists will be required to either be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID test within 48 hours, the festival’s capacity will be cut to 50%, social distancing will be enforced, masks will be required, and more. For a full list of new safety updates visit the Park City Song Summit website.
Conversely, country superstar Garth Brooks announced on Wednesday the cancellation of the remainder of his stadium tour. The singer has already welcomed more than 300,000 fans to his shows in five cities, with more than 350,000 tickets sold for the five canceled shows.
As Brooks noted in a statement on the tour’s cancellation, “In July, I sincerely thought the pandemic was falling behind us. Now, watching this new wave, I realize we are still in the fight and I must do my part. I have asked the wonderful cities of Cincinnati and Charlotte to wait too long and I don’t want to now do that same thing to the great folks in Boston and Baltimore. As far as Nashville, we are looking for a make up date from the July rain out and though this is not COVID related, to make them wait makes me sad, as well. So, it is with a heavy heart we announce the decision to cancel all 5 shows but with a hopeful heart, we will reschedule and start over when this wave seems to be behind us.”
Meanwhile, Foo Fighters went ahead with the announcement of new 2022 U.K. dates, betting on an improvement in the COVID situation across the pond by next summer.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET
Tuesday saw more cancellations from The String Cheese Incident, who axed shows in St. Louis, MO as well as a headlining slot at Backwoods At Mulberry Mountain later this month in Ozark, AK. The Disco Biscuits will now fill in SCI at Backwoods. Additionally, SCI rescheduled six shows throughout Virginia and North Carolina that were slated for the coming week but will now take place in spring 2022.
This latest announcement comes following the jamgrass outfit’s cancellation of shows last week in Ohio and Kentucky following a positive COVID test within the band. The group has yet to announce any safety policies for future concerts requiring negative COVID tests or proof of vaccination.
Korn has also confirmed that singer Jonathon Davis tested positive for COVID, forcing the band to reschedule six future shows as well as cancel two others. The effected shows in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have been pushed to fall 2022.
Big Something has also canceled a string of upcoming shows in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan due to a positive COVID test within the band organization. This announcement includes the band’s set at Summer Camp Music Festival as well as headlining shows in ColumbusT, Cleveland, and Grand Rapids. The band will resume its previously schedule tour beginning on August 26th in Philadelphia.
Monday, August 16, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, has announced updated COVID safety protocols for all of its venues and events.
The entertainment giant had previously maintained a policy that artists could choose whether or not to implement required proof of vaccination/negative test on a show to show basis. Under the new protocols, that choice has become mandatory.
Additionally, all Live Nation employees must be vaccinated by October 4th in order to visit any of the company’s offices, events, or venues.
The new mandate was reportedly spurred by the success of Lollapalooza‘s vaccination participation efforts. “Twelve percent of fans said Lolla was actually their reason for getting vaccinated – which is a huge number with 400k attendees throughout the weekend,” a spokesperson for the company told NBC News.
“Vaccines are going to be your ticket back to shows, and as of October 4th we will be following the model we developed for Lollapalooza and requiring this for artists, fans and employees at Live Nation venues and festivals everywhere possible in the US,” Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement Friday.
The announcement follows Live Nation’s main competitor AEG‘s announcement that all staff and patrons must be vaccinated as of October 1st.
With similar guidelines now in place for Live Nation and AEG, each day brings similar announcements from major artists and events. Today, My Morning Jacket, Governors Ball, Pilgrimage Music Festival, and more added new safety protocols for upcoming events.
At this point, it’s fair to assume that any show you attend will likely have some version of required proof of full vaccination/negative test within 42–72 hours of the event for the foreseeable future. Make sure you check before you go (and go get vaccinated ahead of time).
Friday, August 13, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
This weekend’s Widespread Panic run at ACL Live in Austin, Texas has been postponed due to a positive covid test for frontman John Bell, the band announced on Friday. The announcement comes after the band implemented a mandatory testing/vaccination/mask policy for the now-postponed shows earlier this week.
In addition, Dave Matthews Band has announced updated COVID-19 testing/vaccination protocols for its upcoming tour dates, following suit with moves made by most large-scale tours in the last week. To read the full list up updated protocols for Dave Matthews Band tour, set to go into effect beginning on August 21st at Merriweather Post Pavilion, head here.
Similarly, Blackberry Smoke has canceled several recent shows after a member of the band contracted COVID. The lenght of the pause for the tour remains uncertain as additional dates have been canceled incrementally in the last few days.
Thursday, August 12, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
The continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the United States due to the delta variant coupled with vaccine hesitancy has forced more artists and venues to issue updated safety guidelines to ensure the longevity of live music. Today, Phish and Dead & Company both announced new safety guidelines that will require all attendees to provide either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours prior to concert entry.
Meanwhile, AEG Presents, the second-largest live entertainment company in the world, went a step further by announcing that all patrons and venue staff at all of its U.S. venues must be fully vaccinated by October 1st to gain entry. This has been the first major instance so far of a venue not allowing for a negative COVID test to suffice under the new safety guidelines.
“We have come to the conclusion that, as a market leader, it was up to us to take a real stand on vaccination status,” Jay Marciano, COO of AEG and chairman-CEO of AEG Presents, said in a statement. “Just a few weeks ago, we were optimistic about where our business, and country, were heading. The Delta variant, combined with vaccine hesitancy, is pushing us in the wrong direction again. We realize that some people might look at this as a dramatic step, but it’s the right one. We also are aware that there might be some initial pushback, but I’m confident and hopeful that, at the end of the day, we will be on the right side of history and doing what’s best for artists, fans, and live event workers.”
Thursday also saw The String Cheese Incident cancel a pair of upcoming concerts in Louisville, KY and Columbus, OH after a member of the band tested positive for COVID. In a statement, SCI acknowledged that—even though the unspecified musician was fully vaccinated against the virus—he still managed to contract COVID in a breakthrough case. Out of an abundance of caution, bassist Karina Rykman has also canceled three indoor club shows throughout the next week in Columbus, OH; Chicago, IL; and Denver, CO.
Many bands still continue to announce tours, hoping for the best while cautioning fans that all relevant safety measures will be followed on upcoming cross-country treks.
Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday saw more venues enacting updated COVID safety policies with I.M.P. announcing new rules for Merriweather Post Pavillion, 9:30 Club, The Anthem, and Lincoln Theatre. Effective August 15th, all patrons attending events at those four venues will be required to present either proof of vaccination against COVID or a negative test from the past 72 hours. I.M.P. noted that the vaccine proof can either be the physical vaccination card or a photo of the card, as long as the name matches the attendee’s photo ID.
While these updated policies appear to be the safest route forward for many venues and artists, others are choosing to once again push shows. Stevie Nicks announced the cancellation of all five shows on her 2021 tour, including festival spots at Austin City Limits, Shaky Knees, and BottleRock Napa.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead has also announced a handful of postponements and outright cancellations, as well as the implementation of the same health and safety measures that are going around. The Grateful Dead-inspired act postponed indoor shows in Madison, WI and St. Louis, MO to March 2022 and canceled a show in Grand Rapids, MI set for later this month as well as planned performances in New Orleans set to take place during Jazz Fest, which was pushed to spring 2022 last week.
The band also laid out new safety requirements that will necessitate fans either provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within the past 48 hours. These measures will go into effect on August 19th when JRAD plays Cleveland, OH and remain in practice until further notice.
Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 2:00 p.m. ET
As tours continue despite the surging delta variant, various bands and events have issued updated safety guidance and vaccine/testing/mask requirements for upcoming shows. While the specifics of the new guidance have varied slightly from show to show, the general trend is for concerts and festivals to require full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within two to three days of the show. Many of the new guidelines also recommend masks at events regardless of vaccine status.
For fans hoping to catch concerts this year, the new guidelines are better than the alternative. On Tuesday another large festival, Pepsi‘s Gulf Coast Jam, canceled its Labor Day Weekend event in Panama City, FL due to mounting COVID concerns in the area.
In Nashville, TN—in a move similar to what we recently saw from a group of New Orleans venues—eleven clubs have banded together to require proof of vaccination or a negative test for entry.
The Nashville clubs requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, per a press release, include the 5 Spot, the Basement, the Basement East, Exit/In, The End, the East Room, Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge in Madison, City Winery Nashville, and the three venues that make up the Cannery complex: the Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, and the High Watt. Another local club, 3rd & Lindsley, will enact the requirements on a show-by-show basis based on the artist’s wishes.
While few events have outright required vaccination for entry, many have outwardly endorsed people getting the shot before coming to shows.
“We hope our decision to move forward with this results in more people getting the vaccination, pure and simple. Vaccinations save lives,” said Mike Grimes, co-owner of the Basement and Basement East.
As the Bonnaroo announcement stated, “Bonnaroo strongly encourages vaccination. The last day [before the Labor Day Weekend festival] to receive the second shot of Moderna or Pfizer, or a single dose of Johnson and Johnson is Thursday, August 19th.”
Jason Isbell, who recently enacted similar vaccination/testing guidelines for his upcoming shows, was more blunt about the issue. In an interview with MSNBC, he explained, “We’re not providing something that’s necessarily essential, we’re not giving people healthcare, or food, or shelter. We’re trying to entertain folks. So I’m not saying anyone has to get a vaccine or a negative test, but if you don’t then you don’t get to come to the show. I think that makes sense.”
In the end, the singer-songwriter echoed the words of the founding fathers in response to those who claim policies like his infringe upon their basic freedoms as United States citizens. “I’m all for freedom but I think if you’re dead, you don’t have any freedoms at all,” Isbell said. “So it’s probably important to stay alive before you start questioning your liberty. It’s life and then it’s liberty, and then it’s the pursuit of happiness. Those are in order of priority.” Watch the full Jason Isbell interview clip here.
Live music fans can likely expect this trend to continue as long as cases continue to rise. We’d advise you to check in on any upcoming show you’re planning to attend to see if they have announced new safety guidelines—oh yea, and get vaccinated. Let’s do our part to make sure concerts can continue.
Monday August 9, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET
Lynyrd Skynyrd has canceled a string of tour dates following a positive COVID-19 test by guitarist Rickey Medlocke over the weekend.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, Lynyrd Skynyrd is unable to perform the next four shows in Canton, OH, Jackson, MI, Atlanta, GA and Cullman, AL,” the band wrote on social media Saturday. “Longtime band member Rickey Medlocke has tested positive for COVID-19. Rickey is home resting and responding well to treatment. We will continue to update you on his condition.”
Limp Bizkit also canceled the remaining dates on the band’s Limited Last Minute Popup Party tour due to mounting COVID-19 concerns.
“Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of the band, crew and most of all the fans, the Limp Bizkit show this Monday and the remaining August tour is being cancelled,” Limp Bizkit said in a statement. “Refunds are available at their points of purchase. All tickets purchased online will be automatically refunded.”
Yesterday, a Counting Crows concert in Boston was nixed just hours before showtime after a member of the touring party tested positive for the virus. Out of a similar “abundance of caution”, the band postponed the Boston show as well as an August 10th show in Ohio.
On the jam front, Circles Around The Sun also canceled a pair of upcoming performances at Bowery Ballroom in New York City (8/10) and at Catskill Jubilee Festival on 8/12. As the band explained in its announcement, “Unfortunately, someone in the immediate family of a band member, who is vaccinated, has tested positive for Covid and we can no longer travel to NY. We want nothing more than to be playing shows right now. Having to cancel after all we have been through the last few years just feels awful. Nonetheless, we feel like we’re making the right decision on behalf of both the band and our fans’ health and safety. We are excited and looking forward to our September tour.”
Meanwhile, vaccine/testing/mask requirements are also increasingly being added to upcoming shows. Umphrey’s McGee just issued new guidance for that band’s upcoming shows in Milwaukee and Minneapolis this weekend. Widespread Panic, after enforcing a negative test/vaccine requirement in Asheville this past weekend, announced similar guidelines for the band’s upcoming Austin, TX shows including the addition of a mask requirement.
Sunday, August 8, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has officially canceled its October 2021 event. The rescheduled event was set to return to the Fair Grounds Race Course on October 8th–10th and 15th–17th, 2021.
As the cancellation announcement notes, “As a result of the current exponential growth of new COVID cases in New Orleans and the region and the ongoing public health emergency, we must sadly announce that the 2021 edition of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell, scheduled to take place October 8 – 17, 2021, will not occur as planned. … In the meantime, we urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials, so that we can all soon experience together the joy that is Jazz Fest.”
Per the announcement, ticket-holders for both Jazz Fest weekends, including those who rolled tickets over from 2020, will receive an email this week with details about ticket refund and rollover options. All Wednesday, October 13th tickets—the added day initially set to feature a performance by The Rolling Stones—will be automatically refunded.
The yearly festival has faced an uphill battle since its 50th edition in the spring of 2019. The 2020 edition of the festival, which was set to feature many of the headliners on the newly announced 2021 lineup, was postponed and later canceled.
At the time the 2020 Jazz Fest was canceled, festival organizers aimed to host the next event in the spring of 2021. Those dates, too, were pushed back to October as the pandemic picture continued to develop. Now, Jazz Fest and presenter Shell have once again thrown in the towel on these dates and are looking instead to the event’s typical spring dates, set for April 19th–May 8th, 2022.
Friday, August 6, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET
As tours continue despite the surging delta variant, various bands and events have issued updated safety guidance and vaccine/mask requirements for upcoming shows. Even with those measures in place and many concert-goers now fully vaccinated, the virus is still being transmitted at live events—although the protection provided by the vaccines is helping to mitigate the fallout.
On the massive HELLA MEGA TOUR, a multi-band stadium trek featuring Weezer, Green Day, The Interrupters, and Fall Out Boy, the latter act this week had to pull out of two dates (August 4th at New York’s Citi Field and on August 5th Boston’s Fenway Park) after a member of the band’s organization tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to a statement, “It’s important to note that everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, are fully vaccinated. Each band and their crew have operated in a bubble independently to safeguard everyone as much as possible at each show and in between shows. The tour also has a COVID safety protocol officer on staff full-time that is ensuring everyone is closely following all CDC guidelines.”
The tour is set to continue in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, August 8th and has not yet announced whether or not Fall Out Boy will perform at that date. Since the entire Fall Out Boy organization is vaccinated, per the band’s statement, it is likely that the positive case was not severe and the band could be cleared to return to the tour as soon as negative testing requirements are met once again.
We saw a similar story play out with Foo Fighters last month when the band, which was set to reopen Los Angeles’ The Forum with a fully-vaccinated engagement, canceled the show due to a positive test within the band’s organization. Less than two weeks later, the band was back on tour.
If you’re planning to hit a concert this summer, be aware of the potential for similar COVID-dictated road bumps and protect yourself from serious illness by getting vaccinated before you go.
Thursday, August 5, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET
Organizers of the long-running New York International Auto Show on Wednesday canceled the upcoming event due to concerns about the surging coronavirus delta variant. The event was set to open to the public on August 20th at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The call to once again scrap the event, which typically draws more than one million attendees per year, follows New York City’s announcement that vaccines will now be required for various types of establishments, from restaurants to gyms to theaters and venues.
As the show’s president, Mark Schienberg, said in a statement on the rapidly rising number of new cases, “At the onset of planning for the August Show, we were increasingly excited at the prospect of hosting the event as the number of vaccinations in New York continued to climb and mask-wearing reduced the spread in the City. All signs were positive, and the Show was coming together stronger than ever, but today is a different story.”
New York has a relatively high vaccination rate and other large gatherings (like concerts) are moving forward in the state as of now, but the international scope and extensive traveling involved with the Auto Show likely played a big role in its cancellation. Still, with events beginning to cancel over COVID-19 concerns once again, it’s clear we’re not out of the woods just yet.
Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET
As cases of the COVID-19 delta variant continue to spread, various adjustments are being made to events’ health and safety policies with regard to the ongoing threat of the virus.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City would become the first U.S. city to require at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in order to participate in a variety of activities including indoor dining, gyms, and performance venues. The mandate, similar to those issued in France and Italy last month, will start on August 16th, with enforcement set to begin in earnest via the new “Key to NYC Pass” on September 13th.
The move, de Blasio explained, was a clear message to unvaccinated New Yorkers. “If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” he said at a news conference. “It’s time.”
The city of New York is offering various incentives to increase vaccination rates, from tickets to games to $100 in cash.
At Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL, organizers are also seeking to convince attendees to get vaccinating before attending later this month. The festival, which was rescheduled due to the coronavirus on multiple occasions dating back to early 2020, put out a statement on Tuesday acknowledging the rise in cases and urging vaccination, urging mask-wearing at the festival, and staying home if you have symptoms or have been exposed.
Friday, July 30, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET
The Broadway League announced on Friday that all 41 Broadway theatres in New York City will require audience members, performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff to be vaccinated when shows return in full this September. In addition, all audience members will be required to wear a mask inside the theatre except while eating or drinking in designated locations.
The added safety precautions are set to extend through the end of October 2021, after which theatre owners anticipate a new review of policies in light of current scientific guidance at that time.
When asked about the collective decision to require vaccinations, Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League said, “As vaccination has proven the most effective way to stay healthy and reduce transmission, I’m pleased that the theatre owners have decided to implement these collective safeguards at all our Broadway houses. A uniform policy across all New York City Broadway theatres makes it simple for our audiences and should give even more confidence to our guests about how seriously Broadway is taking audience safety.”
To read the full announcement from the Broadway League, head here.
In addition to Broadway theatres, some ongoing tours are adding new testing and vaccine guidelines as cases tick up. Athens, GA rockers Widespread Panic, who have already played a few summer shows sans restrictions, announced on Friday that concert-goers for the band’s upcoming Asheville, NC shows will have to present proof of full vaccination or a negative test within 48 hours to be admitted to the concerts. The band also advised that fans wear masks at the shows, which are taking place indoors.
To sum up the updated guidance, the statement noted, “The Band and Management have been consulting with contacts at the CDC in an unofficial capacity throughout the pandemic. This is our guidance: Please get vaccinated. … If you are flu-symptomatic, stay home. … If you have been in contact with someone infected with COVID, stay home. … Everyone should wear a mask. Masks will be made available for those needing one. … Respect one another, and arrive Home safely.”
Read the full note from Widespread Panic about the new guidelines in place for the Asheville shows here.
Thursday, July 29, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET
As new cases of the delta variant continue to spike in Louisiana, several beloved New Orleans venues have instituted rules requiring patrons to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to attend.
Tipitina’s, Maple Leaf Bar, and d.b.a. are among the venues instituting the new rule, set to go into effect on Friday, July 30th and continue until further notice. Under the new rules, patrons who wish to attend any of the aforementioned venues will be required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event.
Documentation must come directly from the healthcare provider that performed the vaccination or the negative test and may be displayed on a smartphone or as a physical copy. Attendees will also be required to present photo ID corresponding to the vaccine/testing documentation.
“We remain committed to providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere and livelihood for all performers, employees, and supporters of live entertainment and thank everyone for their contribution to these mitigation efforts at this time,” the venues said in their statement. Read the full statement here.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
With Phish tour set to commence in Arkansas tonight and COVID-19 infections spiking in numerous places around the country—including Arkansas—the band’s fanbase has felt a mix of excitement and nervousness about the band’s first live shows since February 2020.
Today, the band released a note urging fans to have “a good measure of caution and common sense” as the show gets back on the road. In addition to urging fans to get vaccinated, the note also “highly recommended” wearing masks at the upcoming outdoor shows when closer to 6 feet from others—which, at a fully-sold amphitheater show, is pretty much anywhere inside the venue.
In addition to outlining updated bag policies for certain venues, the note asked that people “DO NOT COME” to the shows if they have tested positive or been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days or are experiencing symptoms of the virus.
Read the full note from Phish here.
Monday, July 26, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET
Though this past weekend saw Dave Matthews Band kick off a major summer tour with Phish following suit on Wednesday, the United States is far from done with the living nightmare that is COVID-19.
Phish is set to begin its summer tour on Wednesday in Arkansas, which lags behind the national average for vaccination rates and is currently experiencing an outbreak of new cases.
Last week brought the postponement of a large-scale show by Foo Fighters who were set to reopen Los Angeles’ The Forum, due to a positive test within the band’s organization.
On Saturday, California’s Grateful Shred took to social media to address the growing number of attendees of a recent run of shows in California who contracted COVID. According to a post from the band, “Nearly all of the band and crew have also tested positive and are at home recovering with their families. If you were at any of these events, please get a test and if you’re feeling sick, stay home. … The vaccine does not prevent transmission. But fortunately, it does seem to really help with reducing sickness and preventing hospitalization.”
Grateful Shred does not have another gig scheduled until the Goose-curated Fred The Festival at LOCKN’ Farms August 20th–21st.
With the delta variant spreading and transmission rates rising just as major tours resume in earnest, it is likely that COVID-19 transmission will remain a concern at live events. Getting vaccinated can virtually eliminate the risk of serious illness and hospitalization if you are infected. If you’re venturing out to shows this summer, it would be wise to get the shot.
Thursday, July 15, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET
Well, here we are again with another concert postponement.
Foo Fighters announced on Wednesday that the band will be rescheduling its planned July 17th show at The Forum in Los Angeles after somebody within the band organization tested positive for COVID-19. The show by the alt-rock outfit was meant to reopen the famous arena with its first full-capacity event since the pandemic began, much like Foo Fighters did for Madison Square Garden last month.
The band issued a statement regarding the postponement that sounds all-too-familiar as a relic of a time in live event history that most thought was behind us. The familiar language of “Tickets for the July 17th date will be honored for the new date,” is reminiscent of far too many announcements detailed in this very article.
“Despite having made every effort to follow CDC Covid protocols and local laws, there has been a confirmed Covid-19 case within the Foo Fighters organization,” the band said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of the band, crew and most of all the fans, Saturday’s show at the Los Angeles Forum is being postponed to a later date. The new date will be announced shortly. Tickets for the July 17th date will be honored for the new date.”
Friday, July 9, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
While much of the live music industry is beginning to move forward with a return to relative normalcy in the U.S., uncertainty regarding vaccination rates and new variants in some parts of the country are prompting some entities to postpone once again.
Today, Deftones and Gojira postponed their highly anticipated 2021 outing, which had already been postponed from 2020. As Deftones noted in the postponement announcement, “After much contemplation, we’ve made the decision to postpone our summer tour with Gojira one more time. … With the imminence of the tour, and the pandemic lasting much longer than we anticipated, we came to the realization that uncertainty still remains in different markets througout the country. We do not want to be in a situation where shows have to be adjusted or cancelled on short notice for any guideline adjustments or reconsiderations while we are on the road.
The rescheduled dates are set to take place in April and May of 2022. As of now, Deftones are still scheduled to perform at previously announced festival appearances including Bonnaroo, Welcome To Rockville, and Portugal’s North Music Festival. For more details, head here
Thursday, June 17, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET
Though the return of live music is an undoubtedly joyous occasion, it is not without controversy. Just ask anyone who attended Foo Fighters‘ recent intimate concert at The Canyon in Agoura Hills, CA on Tuesday, where concertgoers had to wade through a crowd of anti-vaccination protestors who allegedly included former child actor Ricky Schroder. Grohl appeared unphased by the assemblage, remarking onstage “Tonight we’re gonna play until the cops get called or I fucking collapse.” Among the live debut of many Medicine At Midnight tracks, the band also took on Queen‘s “Somebody To Love“.
The mob of anti-vaxxers was there protesting the band’s decision to only allow those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the concert at the 600-person capacity venue (the room’s first full capacity show in 15 months). Angry picketers donned signs comparing the Dave Grohl-led rock outfit’s decision to a modern form of segregation, reading “Foo Fighters fight to bring segregation back” and “event for vaccinated only, unvaccinated not allowed.”
Variety reports that on Sunday, Ricky Schroder posted to his Facebook page, “Dave Grohl is an ignorant punk who needs slapped for supporting Discrimination. Ignorance comes in all shapes & sizes. Kurt Cobain is laughing at you Dave along with Millions of Patriots….Fool.” Representatives for Schroder didn’t respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
The Agoura Hills warm-up gig comes as Foo Fighters prepare for a concert on June 20th at Madison Square Garden. The full-capacity concert will be the first live music of any kind at the World’s Most Famous arena since March 10th, 2020, or 460 days ago, when The Brothers celebrated 50 years of The Allman Brothers Band just prior to the total shutdown of live music.
Across the country, in Pelham, TN, another famous indoor venue is getting up and running again as The Caverns has announced its first underground show since March 7th, 2020 with Twiddle performing a special subterranean acoustic set on June 20th ahead of the band’s full show at The Caverns Above Ground Amphitheatre that same evening. The Caverns still has a slate of pod shows scheduled for the Above Ground Amphitheatre from an array of artists including Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, Papadosio, and more running into the summer until the next below ground show by Todd Snider on July 24th. By August, it appears The Caverns will be back in full force with underground shows by Melvin Seals & JGB, Keller Williams, and more.
Friday, June 11, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET
While live music is undoubtedly returning, individual events and venues continue to face unprecedented obstacles as they plot their returns.
According to an S.O.S. call from a coalition of independent music industry advocacy organizations, more than 4,910 small business owners in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program’s first priority period and an additional 10,000 businesses in the second and third priority periods have still not received the funds allotted for them nearly six months after the program was signed into law. As of June 9th, The Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded a total of 90 grants.
The lasting ripples of a messy year are being felt by many events even as concerts return. Organizers for New Orleans’ Voodoo Music + Arts Experience announced that the 2021 edition of the Halloween event has been canceled. The next edition of Voodoo will now take place in late October 2022.
As organizers noted in the 2021 cancellation announcement, “Voodoo Music + Arts Experience will take a pause in 2021 and will return to City Park for an epic Halloween experience in 2022. As our city reopens with an abundance of events to reconnect with, we look forward to holding our reunion when we can fully embrace the Voodoo experience.”
Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 6:00 p.m. ET
It sure does seem like things are getting back to normal, doesn’t it? Vaccination rates are up, COVID infections are down, and there are almost too many concert announcements pouring in on a daily basis to fully comprehend (don’t forget to check our Announcement Tracker for a weekly rundown).
A few particular announcements this week have felt like full-circle moments as live music attempts to get back to normal. First, New York’s Madison Square Garden revealed that Foo Fighters will perform for a full-capacity crowd at the World’s Most Famous Arena on June 20th. The last full-capacity concert at The Garden came on March 10th, 2020.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also made waves with the announcement of a 60,000-person concert event on Central Park‘s Great Lawn as the focal point of a citywide, weeklong “Homecoming NYC” celebration. While details are still coming together, the show is tentatively set for August 21st and will be produced by music industry legend Clive Davis.
Plus, Springsteen on Broadway is back! While most large-scale Broadway productions won’t return until September, Bruce Springsteen will reprise his long-running show for 31 full-capacity encore performances at the St. James Theatre starting later this month.
Yep, it sure does seem like things are getting back to normal.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET
Organizers of The Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival announced on Tuesday that the festival will now take place April 15th–17th and 22nd–24th, 2022. The festival will return to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA for its first gathering since 2019.
Coachella, originally scheduled for April 10th–12th and 17th–19th, 2020, made waves last year as one of the first major festivals to postpone as COVID-19 decimated the live events industry in the United States. Promoters were overly optimistic as they announced new October 2020 dates, which were ultimately scrapped in favor of the festival once again taking back its usual April dates in 2021. Health officials in Riverside County, CA—home of the Empire Polo Club—then announced back in January that the event would not take place in 2021.
Though fans are starting to see medium and even large-scale events return for summer and fall 2021, the mega festival—which sees a daily attendance of 125,000 people–is opting to move to spring 2021 in the hopes of going on sans restrictions. The festival’s location in California, which is still under more stringent COVID-19 safety protocols than the rest of the country, may also play a factor in the decision to postpone once more.
Monday, May 31, 2021, 1:00 p.m. ET
As the United States continues to open up due to increased vaccination rates, some concert promoters are taking vaccination efforts into their own hands. This includes Paul Williams of Leadfoot Promotions in Tampa Bay, FL, who has come up with an innovative way to encourage vaccinations. Williams has announced that tickets to his June 26th concert by punk outfits Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar, and Rutterkin will cost $18 for vaccinated individuals and $1,000 for the unvaccinated.
“I also wanted it to be a vaccine drive to get the fence-sitters off the fence,” Williams told ABC News. “I wanted to get the kids that want to go to shows to go out and get their shots.”
The concert, held at VFW Post 39 in St. Petersburg, has 250 discounted tickets on sale compared to four $1,000 tickets. Shockingly, Williams said, nobody has purchased a $1,000 ticket yet. Though the concept has garnered national attention, an “overwhelmingly positive” reaction from the local music scene—including Teenage Bottlerocket guitar player Ray Carlisle who said, “We’re all vaccinated. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated so we can see you in the pit,”—Williams has also been targeted with attacks from anti-vaxxers.
“To care about people being safe is very bad apparently,” Williams said.
Unlike other large-scale events, Williams isn’t denying entry to unvaccinated individuals. Rather, he is simply providing an incentive for concertgoers to get vaccinated.
“You can buy a full-price ticket and you’ll be treated like everyone else,” Williams said.
Saturday, May 29, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET
As cancellations dwindle and announcements increase, the main hurdle for live music’s return from the pandemic is navigating the uncertain waters of post-pandemic concerts. Right now, many states still have capacity and distancing limitations in place for large events, though those restrictions are being rapidly rolled back as we approach the summer.
In New York, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press release this week that venues can return to full capacity if 100 percent of attendees are vaccinated. He also reiterated the current state guidelines that allow for venues to host 50 percent vaccinated and 50 percent unvaccinated attendees.
The results of the loosening restrictions are already becoming apparent. This past week, two Knicks playoff games took place at Madison Square Garden with more than 15,000 masked patrons in attendee each night, while MSG-owned venues like Radio City Music Hall and The Beacon Theatre announced full-capacity events in the early summer that will require virtually all attendees to be vaccinated.
On the west coast, event organizers are similarly attempting to navigate the ever-changing rules with regard to vaccination for concert-goers. Hollywood Bowl, for example, has announced three different reopening plans in the space of a month.
As The New York Times notes, “The Bowl has churned through three different opening plans in the space of a month. Plan A, announced at the start of May, called for selling just a 25 percent of its 18,000 seats. Then, when county regulations changed, officials came up with Plan B: selling two-thirds of the seats to the vaccinated, and setting aside just 488 less-than-prime seats for the unvaccinated. … This week the rules changed yet again, as California officials said that beginning June 15 outdoor events could return to full capacity, with attendees urged, but not required, to show proof of vaccination or a negative test results. The Bowl moved to Plan C: It is now preparing to sell 100 percent of the venue.”
“You’re getting a firsthand look at how difficult this has been to navigate, especially for those of us who want to open up by summer,” said Chad Smith, the chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which runs the amphitheater, to the Times. “Each time we are announcing the season based on current protocol — and then the current protocols change.”
Thursday, May 20, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
As we move into the second half of May 2021, it’s clear that we’ve turned a page. With vaccines continuing to make their way into arms and COVID-19 case numbers dropping, the live music industry is poised for a reawakening in the second half of this year.
We started this running log in March 2020 when the sheer volume of cancellations made them virtually impossible to report on individually. Now, the situation has flipped: concert cancellations due to COVID-19 are few and far between, and the explosion of new announcements in recent weeks has been staggering. So, we started a new tracking article to help you keep tabs on What Concerts, Tours, & Festivals Were Announced This Week?. Head there for a streamlined rundown of the many events being announced as concerts return.
That said, the threat of COVID-19 has not gone away, and the pandemic will continue to have implications on the live music industry and experience for the foreseeable future. We’ll continue to update this article with subsequent cancellations, postponements, and other shifts in the live music world due to the lasting effects of the pandemic.
Case in point: Cloud 9 Adventures announced this week that Jam Cruise will not sail as originally planned in early 2022. While the concert industry is poised for a comeback, the cruise industry has a longer, trickier timeline. The festival at sea will instead look toward early 2023 for its next voyage.
Out in Colorado, venues have been cleared for a more aggressive phased reopening process. Red Rocks Amphitheatre, for example, has hosted and announced a slew of concerts at a limited capacity of roughly 2,500 people per night with social distancing measures in place since April. With the new reopening push, concerts at Red Rocks, which holds more than 9,500 people when full, will be able to welcome up to 6,300 guests per night until the full-capacity reopening on June 21st.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
For the first time in longer than we can remember, today’s update doesn’t feature a single cancellation or postponement. As cases continue to drop, vaccines continue to be distributed, and capacity restrictions continue to be relaxed, the second half of 2021 is looking more and more “normal” for the live music world every day.
Many major tours will kick off in late July and early August, including the newly announced combined summer/fall tour from Phish. While many of the concerts going on at this time have strict social distancing measures in place, the Phish tour was notably announced without specific COVID protocols, mirroring the overall projections that touring should be back to full scale this summer.
The Peach Music Festival also confirmed its July 4th weekend dates, which will make it one of the first major music festivals to take place this summer. A lineup announcement is expected to arrive later this week.
Various other festivals have also announced lineups in the last few days, including, NYC’s Blue Note Jazz Festival (6/15–8/15), Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival (9/23–9/26), Michigan’s Hoxeyville Music Festival (8/13–8/15), Dark Star Orchestra‘s Catskill Mountain Jubilee (8/12–8/14), North Carolina’s MerleFest (9/16–9/19), and Slightly Stoopid‘s Closer To The Sun Mexican destination event (12/8–12/12).
We’re also starting to see a few interesting snapshots of what concerts in the post-pandemic era may look like. Hollywood Bowl announced its 2021 concert season this week featuring Herbie Hancock, H.E.R., Thundercat and Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, and many more. Of note, 85% of the tickets for each show will be reserved for patrons who are vaccinated against the coronavirus. The remaining block of seats will be available to unvaccinated people who prove negative COVID test prior to attendance.
Friday, May 7, 2021, 4:30 p.m. ET
Another end-of-week announcement roundup sees far-reaching implications across the live events spectrum. Though it is not inherently live music per se, the announcement out of New York City this week that Broadway will reopen in September comes as a major boon to the industry that has not seen any performances since last March. On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the theater district would reopen at full capacity in September 2021, and tickets for Broadway shows beginning on September 14th are now on sale.
Late last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio moved the needle ever closer to reopening when he announced that the city would “fully reopen” on July 1st, only to be one-upped by the State’s announcement this past Monday that “most” pandemic-related capacity restrictions would be lifted not in July, but later this month on May 19th.
On the other side of the country, a new development at Red Rocks Amphitheatre was spurred by The Avett Brothers, who are set to headline a three-night run at the Morrison, CO venue July 9th–11th. On social media, the folk-rockers stated that the band would only perform at the venue if it was permitted to operate at full capacity, but noted that “At this time, we have been told that the venue will be operating at full capacity by July; should that change, our shows will be cancelled and refunds will be issued.”
Colorado saw more positive news with the announcement of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which is set to take place June 11th–13th and 17th–20th, 2021. In addition to splitting the festival into two weekends, each weekend will also be limited to 2,500 attendees, with social distancing in effect as guests are separated into corrals of ten.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s Summerfest—which boasts the title of the “world’s biggest music festival”—is set to return in September 2021. In a similar vein to Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Summerfest will be split into three consecutive weekends. The festival features over 1,000 artists and 11 stages, including national headlining acts at American Family Insurance Amphitheater, and can draw annual crowds of 750,000 people.
Lastly, in the realm of more localized festivals, BIG Something‘s The Big What? celebration announced last month that the event will now take place August 4th–6th, 2022. Though The Big What? is the smallest event listed in this roundup of announcements, it appears that organizers have elected to postpone the festival once again hoping that, by next summer, staff will not have to plan around any pandemic-related safety precautions.
Thursday, April 29, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET
It has been a busy week on the live music front. The past six days have brought with them a flurry of announcements of festivals and whole tours. As Red Rocks Amphitheatre reopened to limited capacity audiences over the weekend with a four-night run by Lotus, the iconic Morrison, CO venue further expanded its upcoming schedule with new concerts throughout May and July from big names including Bob Weir and Wolf Bros, The Disco Biscuits, Umphrey’s McGee, Tedeschi Trucks, and many more.
Meanwhile, fall festival lineups poured in from Mempho Music Festival, Railbird Festival, and Pilgrimage Music Festival, which are all set to host big names including Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, The Avett Brothers, and many more in August, September, and October. With these urban festivals still on the other side of the summer concert season, most appear to be planning for full capacity crowds. While no lineup announcement has been made regarding the Suwannee Hulaween gathering at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, organizers on Thursday issued a “Save The Date” on social media for October 28th–31st.
As for touring bands, many appear to have their sights set on late summer and early fall to resume full-fledged touring. On Thursday, Genesis announced rescheduled dates for the band’s The Last Domino? arena tour that was derailed in March 2020, set to resume in November 2021 with stops at major venues including Chicago’s United Center and New York’s Madison Square Garden (on December 5th). Primus also announced another batch of new dates for the group’s perpetually-rescheduled A Tribute To Kings Rush tribute tour (first announced shortly after drummer Neil Peart‘s death in January 2020). The Les Claypool-led trio is finally set to begin its tour of mid-sized arenas beginning in August.
Further on down the food chain of touring bands, Billy Strings announced more than 50 new concert dates on Thursday in one of the largest tour announcements from any artists seen since March 2020. The new dates will see the Grammy-winning bluegrass phenom hit the road in late July and travel through January 1st, 2022.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced that the city will “fully reopen” on July 1st, noting that “we are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength.” Music venues will be allowed to reopen to full capacity for the first time since March 2020 after being limited to severely reduced capacities beginning on April 2nd.
Friday, April 23, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
The last two days have brought a pair of significant announcements that represent somewhat divergent outlooks on major live events in the near future. While Dave Matthews Band announced a re-shuffled itinerary for its scheduled 2021 national tour beginning in July, fan-favorite Michigan music festival Electric Forest just announced that it is pushing its tentatively scheduled August 2021 event back to 2022.
While a light spring/early summer and a return to relative normalcy in the fall appears to be the extended music industry’s general prognosis, these two announcements illustrate the relatively murky water’s we’ll be approaching in the late summer/early fall with regard to full-scale live shows.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 4:30 p.m. ET
Wondering why your favorite band or festival postponed to later in the year or 2022 when all signs are pointing toward the return of live music in the not-so-distant future and even enormous events like the Tokyo Olympics are moving forward this summer? Look no further than Las Vegas’s Electric Daisy Carnival, one of the largest dance music festivals in North America.
The Las Vegas festival, produced by Insomniac Events, was aiming to be the first major festival to take place in the U.S. following the pandemic. Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella confirmed that notion himself in a since-deleted video posted on April 8th along with the “official confirmation” that the festival would go on in May after weeks of hearings and deliberation by Nevada officials.
Now, just one month out from the festival’s scheduled May 21st starting date, Insomniac has backtracked on the confirmation and officially rescheduled EDC Las Vegas to October. As Rotella explained in a social media post on the postponement, while state guidelines would have theoretically allowed for the event to go on as planned, a new reopening plan by Clark County, the home of EDC and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, requires the local population to be at least 60% vaccinated before restrictions over large-scale events may be lifted. With no control over the rate of vaccinations in Clark County, EDC organizers’ hands were tied.
“Our team has been working around the clock to organize this event,” Rotella said. “We currently have over 40 trucks en route to Las Vegas Motor Speedway from all over the country. The lineup is fully booked and was going to be announced [Wednesday]. The team and I are heartbroken, as I know many of you are as well.”
While all tickets for the May dates will be honored in October and various refund and rollover plans have been made available, the decision has been met with frustration by fans who had already purchased flights and accommodations, taken time off of work, etc. following the May confirmation earlier this month.
This is precisely the kind of ordeal that most major festival organizers and concert promoters are hoping to avoid by continuing to cancel and postpone shows, even as smaller events start coming back in COVID-conscious models. All signs appear to be pointing to the second half of this year for the return of “normal” live events, but these next few months will be crucial and we’re not out of the woods just yet. After a full year of waiting, it’s hard to argue with an event’s decision to wait a few more months instead of risking the stress of another EDC situation just to end up with fall dates anyway.
Stay safe, get vaccinated, and go out and support the various musicians beginning to play smaller, distanced shows near you. The big ones will be back soon.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 4:30 p.m. ET
We’re reaching an interesting—though somewhat unavoidable—new chapter in the COVID-19 concert cancellation and rescheduling process. As we move close to the summer and fall, all signs in the music industry point to a relatively “normal” second half of 2021 for live concerts. Even the summer months look relatively promising, but only if you factor in social distancing. Due to that fact, we’re starting to see more short-term postponements, hybrid limited-capacity/full-capacity schedule announcements, and even some socially distant replacement shows on dates pushed to 2022.
One clear-cut example of this staggered approach to 2021 is the Ardmore Music Hall. The Philadelphia-area venue recently announced an extensive schedule of full-capacity shows beginning in September. Today, the venue announced 30 more spring and summer shows—though this batch will only welcome a limited capacity of 100 per night and will be seated and socially distanced.
Tedeschi Trucks Band, ready to start playing again but not yet at the point of taking a 12-piece outfit on a full-blown tour, recently postponed its multi-band 2021 Wheels of Soul tour to 2022. In its place, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi on Tuesday announced the Fireside LIVE tour, a run of socially distant, outdoor shows with a pared-down band lineup. The new tour announcement confirms that the band will still perform this summer at a few of the previously scheduled Wheels of Soul tour stops including Jacksonville, FL’s Daily’s Place (6/11, 6/12), Gilford, NH’s Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion (7/3), and Morrison, CO’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre (7/30, 7/31), with the Red Rocks run falling on the same weekend on which the 2021 Wheels of Soul stop was initially scheduled.
The late-summer threshold appears to now be the standard for general indoor concert and large-scale festival postponements as well. For example, Ween just canceled a run of indoor June shows in Texas and Oklahoma outright, but opted to postpone an outdoor show in Minneapolis to August rather than rescheduling. Similarly, Rolling Loud Miami hedged its bets on its initial May dates, but only pushed out a couple of months to July.
Thursday, April 15, 2021, 11:15 a.m. ET
While the worlds of Major League Soccer and Phish don’t often intersect, fans of both the Vermont jam band and Colorado Rapids received a bit of good news on Thursday when Dick’s Sporting Good Park in Commerce City announced that it will host 8,000 fans at Rapids home games beginning later this month.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, owners of the stadium, announced that it had received approval from the Tri-County Health Department to welcome 7,897 fans—roughly 44 percent capacity—per match beginning with the team’s home opener against Austin FC on April 24th. With Phish’s annual Labor Day run of concerts at Dick’s still over four months away, many fans are hoping that this news bodes well for at least some semblance of a summer tour.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 4:30 p.m. ET
Full tours, shows, and festivals continue to be announced for the second half of the year as vaccination numbers continue to climb.
The Red Rocks schedule continues to fill up with limited-capacity shows beginning this month and stretching through October, destination events like Strings & Sol and Dead & Company‘s Playing In The Sand are full-steam ahead for late 2021/early 2022, and most touring bands are starting to find a way to perform live for fans in some way or another.
Make sure you get your shots and go support your favorite bands as they once again start to hit the stage!
Thursday, April 8, 2021, 4:30 p.m. ET
The past two days have seen a flurry of activity in the music world as different states, artists, and festivals move in seemingly different directions. On Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsome announced that he was eyeing June 15th for a statewide reopening, a move that would include music venues.
“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy,” Gov. Newsom said via press release. “We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic.”
On the other side of the country, the Newport Festivals Foundation announced 2021 dates for both Newport Folk and Newport Jazz festivals. Newport Folk is set to return to Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI July 23rd–28th while its jazz counterpart will take place July 30th–August 1st. As Newport Folk prepares for a reduced capacity this year, organizers have chosen to pivot the celebration to “two unique 3-day events of surprise performances, storytelling, and workshops.” Additionally, tickets for this year’s NFF will be sold in phases rather than all at once.
The past two days have also seen a fair share of developments on the touring side of live music. This week saw both Roger Water and Rage Against The Machine postpone their stadium tours until 2022. Meanwhile, Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, one of the highest-grossing entertainers in the world, announced on Thursday that he will hit the road for a North American tour beginning in October and running through December. The 21-city tour will take the singer across the United States and see him playing indoor arenas including Madison Square Garden, Allstate Arena in Illinois, American Airlines Center in Texas, and many more.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
As vaccination eligibility continues to open up around the country, the live music industry continues to place its bets on a relatively “normal” fall season.
In the Philadelphia area, Ardmore Music Hall announced a full slate of full-capacity, indoor shows starting in the fall. In New York, where ticketed events are only just being phased back in after a year of empty stages, the famed Beacon Theatre just announced its first new 2021 shows including a five-night run by Widespread Panic in September. Widespread Panic, notably, announced the 2021 Beacon residency along with a slew of other fall shows, making for an upcoming 2021 touring itinerary that looks jarringly similar to pre-pandemic years.
Monday, April 5, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
Quincy, CA’s High Sierra Music Festival, which was set to take place over July 4th weekend after being postponed in 2021, has now been postponed once again. The next High Sierra is now set to take place in the summer of 2022. As organizers said in a statement,
Here is what we know: case counts, positivity rates, hospitalizations, and COVID deaths have decreased drastically in recent weeks. As vaccination distribution increases, we are witnessing restrictions being lifted around Plumas County, the state of California and the country at a really encouraging pace. Things that were unthinkable a few months ago are now either a reality or just within reach.
What we don’t know: state and local guidelines have yet to address large general admission events. All the guidance to date references fixed and pod seating, limited entertainment time frames, and limits on radius and distance of attendee from place of residence to the event.
We have waited just about as long as we can to see how current trends and progress with the pandemic may affect our ability to hold the event. However, because of the lead time we need to produce High Sierra, we simply can’t plan production of the festival under the guidelines that currently exist, and don’t know at this time whether it’s feasible to postpone to a later date this year. For these reasons, we have decided to postpone again, and bring back High Sierra in 2022 in its full unfettered self, as it should be, on July 4th weekend.
At Red Rocks, new show announcements have poured in since the venue announced the return of concerts with limited capacities last week. At the same time, the venue has been rolling out new dates and cancellations for its existing calendar of 2021 dates, many of which were pushed out a year with a wish and a prayer upon their initial postponement in 2021. While concerts are starting to pick back up, shows that were initially sold at full capacity over the past year will likely be pushed again due to this logistical challenge.
We’re likely to see this phenomenon occur everywhere over the coming weeks and months as bands and venues begin to once again test the touring waters but planned full-capacity events remain out of the question. One such example is Tedeschi Trucks Band—while the band on Monday pushed its 2021 Wheels of Soul tour back to 2022, the same announcement noted that TTB would fill up those abandoned 2021 dates with some socially-distanced, pandemic-conscious alternate live shows.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET
Large-scale festivals continue to place their bets on the late summer and fall. The last 24 hours brought lineup announcements from a range of events across the country including Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (9/2–9/5), DelFest (9/23–9/26), HARD Summer (7/31–8/1), and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (9/10–9/12).
While the general outlook on the second half of the year appears to be increasingly hopeful and vaccine eligibility is steadily opening up to more and more people, the pandemic is not over yet. New cases are up over the last few days nationwide, with particularly big spikes in population-dense places like New York.
The virus is still wreaking havoc overseas, as well. Amid a surge in cases, France today closed all schools and may be facing a third national lockdown as hospitals become overwhelmed.
The announcements are undoubtedly exciting, but another potential big round of cancellations a few months from now? Not so much. just make sure you keep doing your part in the meantime: wear a mask, follow public health measures, and get vaccinated when it’s your turn.
Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 10:45 a.m. ET
Operators of Morrison, CO’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre announced today that concerts will resume at the venue with a state-approved 2,500-person limit, roughly one-quarter of the venue’s full capacity. The venue also announced its first new shows of 2021—a pair of April shows by jamtronica favorites Lotus—and hinted that further announcements would be coming soon. Read the full announcement here.
Organizers of Dover, DE’s Firefly Music Festival announced on Monday that the event will move from its usual June weekend to September 23rd–26th. The large-scale, pop-friendly festival will still take place at The Woodlands in Dover, DE. A post from organizers offered little additional information and said only, “It’s true,” followed by the new dates.
The previously-announced lineup from 2020 was set to include recently-reunited Rage Against The Machine, as well as Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, Blink-182, and more. No updated lineup or further COVID-19 safety protocols have been released, nor was any public statement given regarding the status of ticket-holders who cannot make the new dates.
State officials told Delaware Online, “Event organizers are aware they will need a formal plan approval from the agency before the event takes place. We will continue to actively work with the organizers to ensure their plan meets all necessary health and safety requirements and the necessary mitigation and safety measures are in place.”
Sunday, March 28, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET
There has certainly been a lot of movement on the festival front this week. While various larger festivals have officially shifted to 2022, many others have announced late-summer and fall dates with relative confidence. The list of major festivals forging ahead in the second half of the year includes Georgia’s Imagine Festival, San Francisco’s Outside Lands, Chillicothe, IL’s Summer Camp, Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful, and Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival.
While most large-scale events appear to be looking beyond the first half of the year, Insomniac‘s Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), one of the largest EDM festivals in the U.S., is still aiming to take place on its scheduled dates in late May. In an Instagram post, Insomniac head Pasquale Rotella explained that Nevada officials are currently reviewing the festival’s “robust safety plan” and are due to issue an official decision by April 8th. He also said that in the case of the plan’s denial by state officials, the event will be moved to October 2021. Read the full update below.
Monday, March 22, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET
After its historic, full-season cancellation in 2020, western Massachusetts’ Tanglewood Music Festival will return in an abbreviated form this coming July and August, organizers announced late last week. Tanglewood was founded in 1937 and aside from 2020, the only other times that the festival has been curtailed or canceled completely were during World War II.
The summer home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra which also hosts a Popular Artists Series will reopen for live performances with fan attendance beginning July 9th and lasting until August 16th. The shortened, six-week season will allow for half of the events that would normally be able to take place during a full season. Each performance will take place at the Koussevitzky Music Shed and will be limited to no more than 80 minutes, with no intermissions.
Fans should note, however, that BSO has temporarily suspended ticket sales for the 2021 Tanglewood Popular Artist series until organizers have more information about the status of the 2021 schedule. The announcement states organizers are currently in the process of rescheduling the June 2021 events to a possible later summer date or even back to 2022.
The schedule of the 2021 season programming will be announced by Tanglewood organizers next month on April 8th.
Contactless digital tickets for all 2021 season events will go on sale on May 17th at 10 a.m. ET. Head to the Tanglewood website for more info on the venue’s health and safety measures for the 2021 reopening.
Friday, March 19, 2021, 1:00 p.m. ET
Despite rolling the majority of their 2020 concert schedule over into 2021 with plans to possibly begin hosting live events with limited capacity audiences this year, Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre made some notable announcements regarding three planned 2021 concerts on Tuesday and Friday of this week.
On Friday Joe Russo’s Almost Dead announced the cancellation of their June 4th, 2021 show at the famous outdoor Colorado venue (along with their October 15th show at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville). Red Rocks also announced on Friday that two Glass Animals‘ shows scheduled for June 14th-15th, 2021 will now take place on those same dates in 2022.
The two announcements follow the cancellation of the Global Dub Festival (scheduled for May 15th) earlier in the week on Tuesday.
Last month the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) projected that organizers for outdoor events might be able to expand their max audience capacity to somewhere between 75-80% by July.
Head to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre website for 2021 season ticket info.
Thursday, March 18, 5 p.m. ET
It was a bit of a confusing day in the music industry on Thursday as two large revelations seemed to indicate opposing realities for the coming festival season. On the one hand, Variety published an article quoting “two music industry professionals with knowledge of the situation” who stated that Coachella and Stagecoach would not take place in 2021.
The two Goldenvoice festivals—which normally take place in April at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA—were originally postponed from April 2020 to October 2020 to April 2021. Then in January, health officials in Riverside County, CA announced that the festivals would not take place in April. Reports surfaced that Coachella and Stagecoach would take place in fall 2021, though no exact dates were officially confirmed. It now appears that the two festivals will be postponed once again to April 2022.
On the other hand, fellow California music festival Outside Lands announced that it will take place over Halloween weekend. The festival normally takes place at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in August. While Outside Lands does not attract the 125,000-person capacity crowd that Coachella does, it represents yet another large, mainstream festival that also takes place in California among strict COVID-19 regulations.
Wednesday, March 17, 4 p.m. ET
As we move further into March and the coronavirus/vaccination picture continues to look promising, we’re seeing many bands starting to announce socially distant spring and summer shows, with some even plotting longer runs and tours.
This week alone, we’ve already gotten in-person concert announcements come in from Lettuce, Turkuaz, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Southern Avenue, Ryan Montbleau, Billy Strings, The Avett Brothers, lespecial, Twiddle, Ivan Neville, Gov’t Mule, Galactic, Keller Williams, and more. Sure, it’s not quite the onslaught of summer tour announcements that we typically see this time of year, but the fact that so many bands are announcing new shows is a stark change from last March, when virtually all shows were canceled overnight. Little by little, live music is returning.
Wednesday, March 17, 10 a.m. ET
Organizers for the 4848 Festival have confirmed the rescheduled 2021 dates for the West Virginia music festival, which launched in 2019 and was scheduled to return for its second year in 2020 before canceling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three-day event will return to Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia over Labor Day weekend (September 3rd–5th) with two performances from headliners Greensky Bluegrass. More artists will be announced in the coming months, but organizers did note “most of the artists” from the originally-planned 2020 event will still take part in the 2021 festival. Tickets and lodging packages purchased for 2020 will also be honored at this year’s festival.
A statement shared by festival organizers on Wednesday reads,
There appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel and as we begin to see things open up, we remain optimistic and want to be certain that we can host the best and safest festival possible. As of March 3, the West Virginia Governor lifted some restrictions on schools, restaurants and small businesses but when it came to fairs and festivals, he said “we will clarify guidelines as we get closer”. With the uncertainty of when these guidelines may roll out and how they may or may not affect the event, we have decided to move 4848 Festival to Labor Day Weekend. We are trying to move us all closer to certainty.
Head to the 4848 Festival website for more information.
Tuesday, March 9, 4:30 p.m. ET
A flurry of concert and festival announcements from around the music world this week appear to inspire hope for the coming season. While mini-tour announcements from Goose, Billy Strings, and more still appear in drive-in and socially distant pod formats, Insomniac Events have announced a full-fledged music festival set to take place over Memorial Day weekend.
The producers of such flagship electronic festivals as Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas—which is still slated to take place May 21st—23rd, 2021—announced details for Skyline, a two-day outdoor festival set to occur in Orlando, FL. Organizers noted that attendees will be required to wear masks at all times, though no social distancing requirements have been listed.
While Insomniac Events plans for festivals to take place mostly in a pre-COVID format, many jam concerts scheduled for the same time will still take place in COVID-conscious templates. Goose announced concerts for May 4th, 6th, and 8th throughout the Southeast which will all either be socially distant or drive-in affairs. Additionally, Billy Strings will wrap up a mini spring tour with three pod concerts in Mobile, AL April 9th—11th. BIG Something and Too Many Zooz will also team up for a joint tour May 28th—30th that will be comprised solely of drive-in and pod concerts in Virginia and North Carolina.
As state governments continue to lift sanctions on public gatherings, the decisions have now moved to artists, promoters, and fans alike to determine their levels of comfort. While gatherings of increasing size may be allowable by law in a growing number of states, it is likely that many fans will not feel safe in such environments until a large enough segment of the United States population has been vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.
Monday, March 8, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
In a recent Rolling Stone feature, music venue owners and operators in Texas and Mississippi—where all COVID-related restrictions have been lifted—largely stated that they would not take their governors’ recent blanket statewide reopenings to heart. The music outlet quoted more than half-a-dozen venue owners, operators, and talent buyers in Texas and Mississippi who said they will continue to abide by national COVID-19 protocols and work toward slowly reopening their businesses.
Lawrence Boone, a talent buyer for The Far Out Lounge and Stage in Austin, TX encapsulated the shock of many music industry professionals to Governor Greg Abbott‘s abrupt reopening of the state and rescinding of its mask order.
“The majority of people in my world were like, ‘What the [expletive] are you doing?’ Like, ‘Don’t do that right now, we’re starting to make some progress,’” Boone told Rolling Stone. “No one in our world, outside of maybe a few, a vocal minority, wanted this to happen. We were just starting to figure out how to make some headway.”
While the announcements from Governors Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi meant that venues and bars could reopen entirely, the operators of those businesses stated that they were quickly contacted by artists—as well as fans—to make sure plans were still in place for socially distant events.
“I did hear from some artists who wanted to confirm, ‘Hey, we’ve got a show coming up. We want to keep it at your 20% capacity set-up.’ Artists and our staff and the patrons, I don’t think any of them are gunning for us to change anything right now,” Zach Ernst, talent buyer for famed Austin blues club Antone’s, said. “Particularly in Austin, there is a demand for these reduced-capacity, reserved-seating shows. That’s what the patrons are looking for and that’s what artists want to do.”
An unfortunate reality of the Governors’ orders, however, is that many venues could now be on the hook for paying full rent once again. Many venue owners were able to amend their leases with landlords in order to pay a smaller percentage of rent while the business was only open to a smaller percentage of its total capacity. Now that venues are technically able to open to 100% capacity, many renters fear that the bank could clamp down on the mortgage holders who in turn will ask tenants for the full rent amount.
“My landlord has been very gracious and forgiving of the way things are, but it comes to ‘business is business’ and the banks I’m sure are crawling on him, and in turn, we get phone calls,” Arden Barnett, owner of Duling Hall in Jackson, MI, said. “But if it came down to it, and I would hope that it never does, if he says, ‘You have to open up to 100%,’ I couldn’t do it.”
At the same time, there are club owners who will take advantage of state reopenings to once again crowd their businesses with maskless attendees. This includes Marty Travis, general manager of Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, TX, where masks are now optional for patrons, and staff are only required to wear masks when interacting with artists.
“What we’ve done is say, ‘Hey, folks, we’re going to give you the choice. We would love to see you wear a mask; it’s smart for everybody right now,’” Travis told Rolling Stone. “But I’m not going to enforce my staff to wear masks. I’m not going to enforce my guests to wear masks. It is the governor who has said, ‘Open our businesses up for 100%,’ right or wrong.”
Though not yet back to full capacity, the 6,000 person venue is currently hosting up to 2,500 people with plans to soon increase to 3,000.
“We’re going to take…the safe, progressive way to do it,” he said. “We can handle 3,000, no problemo. I can’t handle 5,000 right now. I can’t handle 6,000 right now. I don’t have the staff and I don’t have the stones to risk if Governor Abbott’s a genius or an idiot.”
Head over to Rolling Stone to read the full story.
Friday, March 5, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET
Organizers for Louisville, KY’s Forecastle Festival have announced the cancelation of the 2021 event, which was scheduled to return this summer after a year off in 2020.
A statement shared by festival organizers on March 4th reads,
Forecastle Festival will be taking a pause in 2021 and will return stronger than ever in 2022. Feedback from our fans is incredibly important to us, and we are taking this time to make improvements across the board to make Forecastle 2022 an even more incredible experience.
We are excited to share that the festival is moving to Memorial Day Weekend beginning in 2022 and beyond, bringing cooler temperatures and even better vibes! Stay tuned to our website and social media for updates. We can’t wait to see you at Waterfront Park next year!
The 2020 edition of the annual Kentucky music festival was canceled in April of last year. The event was set to feature a lineup that included Jack Johnson, Cage The Elephant, The 1975, Tash Sultana, Umphrey’s McGee, Goose, Grace Potter, Jon Bellion, Lil Tecca, Thundercat, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Allen Stone, and more.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 2:00 p.m. ET
Today, DelFest, initially scheduled to take place in May, was postponed to October. As the sons of the festival’s namesake, Del McCoury, noted in the postponement announcement, “As we’ve said many times, we won’t do anything that is unsafe, but as we get closer to September, we believe it’ll be very clear what modifications need to be made to keep all of you people safe. … Mom and Dad have been fully vaccinated now, and we hope by September that any of you that want it will have had the chance (and we want to encourage you to get a vaccine when it’s your time).”
While many promoters are similarly approaching the return of live events with careful regard to the pandemic, some states have decided to throw caution to the wind. On Tuesday, the Governors of both Texas and Mississippi lifted all COVID-related safety protocols and mask mandates and cleared all businesses to open at 100% capacity, against the warnings of health officials.
It’s unclear how this will affect the reopening of live music in these states in an immediate, practical sense. While venues will be legally allowed to operate at full capacity, many venues. promoters, and artists will likely be hesitant to defy health experts’ recommendations. The mayors of Mission, Houston and Dallas, TX all said they would continue to either encourage mask wearing or require masks in their respective city buildings, despite Abbott’s executive order ending COVID safety restrictions.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the move “really undermines all of the sacrifices that have been made by medical professionals, doctors, nurses, EMS workers, firefighters, police officers, municipal workers, people in the community.”
Meanwhile, other states are looking at a more cautious path back to full-capacity live events. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced a pilot program to test the Excelsior Pass, a mobile application developed in partnership with IBM which will “use proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test through a confidential data transfer to help fast-track the reopening of theaters, stadiums, and other businesses in accordance with New York State guidelines.” The pilot testing for the Excelsior Pass has already begun and will continue to take place during upcoming games at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center in New York City.
As Cuomo explained of the Excelsior Pass in a press release, “The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal.”
In another major announcement for New York, Cuomo on Wednesday said that concerts, plays, and other live performances may resume in the state—with significantly reduced capacities—starting next month.
Per the New York Times, Cuomo said in a news conference from Albany that “arts, entertainment and events venues can reopen April 2 at 33 percent capacity, with a limit of up to 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, and a requirement that all attendees wear masks and be socially distanced. Those limits would be increased—to 150 people indoors or 500 people outdoors—if the venues are able to test all attendees.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET
As the month of March begins and what’s usually the beginning of summer festival season draws closer, we’re seeing a lot of movement on the cancellation/postponement/announcement front.
In recent days, various festivals scheduled for the first half of 2021 were canceled or postponed. Barcelona, Spain’s Primavera Sound has officially been canceled, with organizers instead looking toward 2022. The 20th-anniversary event, originally set to take place in early June, was initially postponed to August 26th–30th, 2020 and later pushed to June 2021. Other events across the U.S., from CMA Fest in Tennessee to Lightning In A Bottle in California, are similarly punting early-2021 events to 2022 after having postponed 2020 events to this year in the early days of the pandemic.
Slowly but surely, however, we’re starting to see some more optimistic moves. Suwannee Rising just announced its 2021 artist lineup. The festival, which takes place at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL, will host a pared-down, pod-style edition of the jam-heavy event in mid-April.
Even without distancing measures in place, various festivals are still forging on in 2021. Las Vegas’s Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) and various other Insomniac-produced festivals are reportedly still on for this spring. As Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella recently noted on Instagram, “I know a lot of you are looking for an EDCLV update, so yes, we’re continuing to plan EDC Las Vegas & Beyond Wonderland for their scheduled dates. There continue to be new developments & we’re in constant communication with local officials. If things change, however, we have backup dates in place & I’ll let you know soon.”
A COVID-19 waiver of liability posted on the Insomniac website reads, “By entering the venue and/or the event, you acknowledge the contagious nature of COVID-19 and voluntarily assume the risk that you may be exposed to or infected by COVID-19 and that such exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, permanent disability, and death.”
Monday, March 1, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET
Last week during Live Nation‘s Q4 2020 earning call, CEO Michael Rapino expressed confidence that 75–100% capacity events would return to key U.S. states later this year. He added that the prospect of a 75%-plus capacity re-opening in the largest U.S. markets was “within sight.”
This news comes as Live Nation and its U.K. subsidiary Festival Republic sold over 170,000 concert tickets in 72 hours overseas. As the United Kingdom moves forward with Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s plan to have large-scale events with no attendance limits return by June 21st, Live Nation announced dates and released tickets for Reading & Leads Festival as well as Creamfields which sold out in a matter of days.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Rapino expressed hesitance for Live Nation to embark on 10% capacity, large-scale events, such as in New York where arenas have recently been allowed to reopen.
“[We] have not, to date, done a lot of work in the 0% to 50% capacity business. We don’t see that as a viable model to ramp back up [considering the] fixed cost,” Rapino said during the call. “[We] think we’re better off waiting for a high bar capacity moment in most of the states to ramp up and talk to the artists about getting paid properly.”
With more artists than ever wanting to tour and fans eager to make up for lost time, all signs point to even more concerts ahead. Thank you to all of our @LiveNation employees for their endless resilience and creativity – none of this would be possible without you pic.twitter.com/gdiapVYSyk
— Michael Rapino (@Michael_Rapino) February 25, 2021
Combined with recent news from Colorado and New Jersey—along with some notable festival date announcements—these developments paint a promising picture for the coming concert season. While these predictions maintain a cautious optimism, it appears likely that concerts and music festivals will exist in some form this summer and fall.
Saturday, February 27, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET
As vaccine distribution continues around the country and new COVID-19 cases trend downward, the state of Colorado is hopeful that concerts could return at near-full capacity by July.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment this week shared with Colorado live music industry leaders a framework for reopening in 2021. As CDPHE told Westword in a statement, “We shared projections with stakeholders recently, including the possibility of expanding event and restaurant capacity to 75-80 percent in July.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment this week shared with Colorado live music industry leaders a framework for reopening in 2021. As CDPHE told Westword in a statement, “We shared projections with stakeholders recently, including the possibility of expanding event and restaurant capacity to 75-80 percent in July.”
The Westword report goes into further detail about the CDPHE’s plan as presented to stakeholders: ” By April 1, as most counties move to Level Blue on what would then be CDPHE’s COVID Dial 3.0, live events could return at 50 percent capacity with six-foot social distancing; by May 1, they could return at 60 percent capacity with six-foot social distancing, and in July and beyond, at Level Green, they could return at 75 to 80 percent capacity with three-foot social distancing or even no social distancing, depending on how many people have been vaccinated by then.”
The CDPHE also sought to temper expectations with regard to the relative optimism of the reopening plan for live events: “Please note that the projections we shared are not concrete and were presented to help the industry plan for the future. We regularly share best guesses for what we expect in the coming months, with a mutual understanding that specific parameters and timelines will change as the pandemic changes. But we have a strong commitment to help our businesses plan for the upcoming months, and so regularly share information.”
Friday, February 26, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
Summer Camp Music Festival organizers have announced that this year’s festival will take place August 20th—22nd, 2021. The festival, which normally takes place over Memorial Day weekend, was initially postponed to August last year and ultimately pushed to 2021.
In their announcement, organizers did not release any health/safety information regarding the gathering. It is likely, with the escalating vaccination rollout, that any safety measures issued in February would likely change by August.
Read the full statement from Summer Camp organizers below.
Summer Camp Family,
We miss you all. We haven’t been away from you and Three Sisters Park for this long since Summer Camp Music Festival began in 2000. One thing is certain, our 20th Anniversary is going to be the best celebration we could dream of after all this time apart. It is going to be truly special.
At this time, due to the ongoing circumstances surrounding the Covid 19 pandemic, we have decided to reschedule Summer Camp Music Festival 2021 to take place over the weekend of August 20-22, 2021, with the pre-party taking place Thursday, August 19th. We realize that Memorial Day Weekend isn’t going to be feasible at this point, and we’re excited to look towards the future and gather once again in late August to celebrate life, love, and music. We are again happy to say that the vast majority of our lineup is able to move with us and join us in August for our 20th anniversary celebration. We will be releasing an updated lineup soon so stay tuned for more information on that and also details on refunds for any current ticket holders who will not be able to join us for the new dates.
For all you SCampers who are holding tickets, we want to thank you. Your support means the world to us as we navigate these difficult times. All current tickets will be honored for the moved dates and you need to do nothing to change your tickets. And again, once we are able to finalize what artists are able to make the move with us, we will provide details on refunds for those patrons who are not able to make the new dates.
Keep your Summer Camp spirit alive, we’ll see you again…
As case numbers around the United States continue to stabilize as the country celebrates the delivery of its 50 millionth vaccination dose, prospects for summer concerts look ever-more promising. Conversely, as summer draws closer it is clear that—even as more and more Americans receive vaccinations—that certain safety protocols will need to be implemented for large-scale events.
Monday, February 22, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday that, effective March 1st, the state will allow limited crowds at venues with over 5,000 person capacities. Beginning next Monday, indoor venues will be able to host 10% capacity events with outdoor facilities hosting 15% capacity.
Appearing on WFAN 101.9 FM’s Moose & Maggie sports program, Governor Murphy noted that for these events “everybody has to do the stuff we’re all used to these days: face coverings, social distancing, etc. If you buy tickets together you can sit together, but otherwise, you have to social distance, and God willing, this is the first step of what I hope is many more to come.”
Governor Murphy stated, however, that these large-scale events will not require attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test.
“We’re not there yet with tests. That’s why social distancing, one-way avenues, how concessions are handled…all that will matter,” Governor Murphy said.
New Jersey is still working toward a goal of vaccinating 70% of adults in the first six months of distribution, which began in December. Currently, the state has administered 1.7 million vaccines with the 70% threshold translating to roughly 4.7 million people.
“I’m not sure we’ll be there by Memorial Day, but a couple months from now, this will be a whole diff ballgame in terms of vaccine access,” Governor Murphy said. “By then we should be at the point that if you want a vaccine, you’ll be able to get it, assuming federal supply.”
Monday, February 22, 2021, 11:30 a.m. ET
Organizers for Boston Calling Music Festival, which was scheduled to return this spring after a year off in 2020 due to COVID-19, have announced the cancelation of the 2021 event.
A statement shared by the festival on Monday morning reads,
After exploring all possible options for hosting Boston Calling this year, we have made the difficult decision in conjunction with local and state authorities to cancel the 2021 festival. The health and safety of our entire community is always our top priority, and there was no appropriate scenario under which we could provide the Boston Calling experience you love and deserve.
While we are sad to go another year without the festival, we have set our sights on 2022 – mark your calendar for Memorial Day weekend. We look forward to sharing more information around headliners, lineup and vendors as we get closer to the 2022 festival.
Fans who have held onto their 2020 Boston Calling tickets are being offered the option to hold onto the event passes for one more year as they will remain valid for the 2022 festival, which is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend 2022. Ticket holders can also request a full refund, which will remain available until March 8th, 2021 at 5 p.m. ET.
Click here for more info.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET
In a move that seems to mark a shift toward the return of live music in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that qualifying arenas and stadiums across the state will be able to start welcoming in-person fans for ticketed events beginning on February 23rd. The decision comes as the state’s late-2020 COVID-19 spike continues to dip and other facets of everyday life begin to return (indoor dining in New York City, for example, will resume this coming weekend).
Qualifying indoor arenas across the state and stadiums with a 100,000-person total capacity will have to abide by a strictly-enforced limited capacity of just 10%, and fans who do choose to attend a sporting or music event must provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. Mask-wearing, temperature checks, and assigned seating will also be required as part of New York’s latest step in reopening its live events industry.
“The testing to me is key. I can go see the president of the United States, take a test and if I pass the test, walk into the Oval Office,” the New York Governor said with Wednesday’s announcement. “This hits the balance of safe reopening. A PCR test is as safe as you can get.”
For now, the decision appears to mainly apply to athletic events. In New York City, both Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center plan to reopen with extremely limited fan attendance for their respective NBA and NHL teams. Citi Field, which is currently being used as a city-run mass vaccination site, will also aim to prepare the stadium for in-person fans ahead of the MLB‘s opening day in April. For more information on the gradual reopening of stadiums and arenas in New York, head here.
Monday, February 8, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET
Some inspiring news out of the Northeast today with a pair of announcements from New York City and Atlantic City, respectively. Officials in New York, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals, introduced the “Open Culture” program which will open up to 115 designated city streets in all five NYC boroughs for ticketed performing arts events.
This new program, which will begin allowing applications for permits on March 1st, will give performers the ability to reserve a city street for up to 12 hours for ticketed events. While indoor events are still not feasible in NYC, this new program will allow outdoor events to operate safely with locations determined by the New York City Department of Transportation.
“This plan and Open Culture is going to streamline the application process, allow arts groups, both for-profit and non-profit, to get easily obtainable permits to perform live on the streets of all five boroughs of New York City, democratizing the arts in a way that we’ve never experienced before in our city,” NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer also added during Monday’s press conference. “And they’re going to be able to ticket [through] online ticketing and charge for performances, which will allow a source of revenue to be had by cultural organizations and allow our artists to be paid.”
In other news, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy indicated that, if the state keeps up the pace of its vaccine distribution efforts, outdoor concerts on Atlantic City’s beach will likely be able to go on. Specifically, the state has a goal of reaching 70% vaccination by the start of summer.
As of February 8th, the state has administered 1,037,657 doses with 224,237 of those as second doses. At this rate, the state of New Jersey would like to vaccinate 4.7 million people before July 4th.
“Beach and [Atlantic City Air] Show higher probability than something indoors. I think something can happen indoors, but I don’t think it will be back to where we’re all piled on top of each other watching a concert,” Murphy said.
Friday, February 5, 2021, 7:00 p.m. ET
Organizers at Red Rocks Amphitheatre issued a statement late on Friday saying that venue staff and promoters are working “to plan for a variety of scenarios this summer.”
The 2020 concert season at the famed Morrison, CO venue was almost entirely postponed to 2021. While most of those rescheduled dates still stand, the venue noted that “reduced capacity early in the season may mean some artists reschedule or cancel shows, so we anticipate some movement in the calendar ahead.” Organizers also noted that it is still too early to tell what the summer will bring and that this planning “will be a rolling process with many factors based on our community’s progress in driving down Covid numbers.”
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, along with Denver Performing Arts Complex and McNichols Civic Center, were all closed indefinitely in October by Denver Arts & Venues, the firm that operates the venues for the city and county of Denver. The website for Red Rocks Amphitheatre still shows that the rescheduled concerts are set to begin in April, but those dates are subject to change as the pandemic develops.
Welcome to 2021, Red Rocks fans!
All of us at Red Rocks are excited to see what 2021 will bring as we emerge from the challenges of the pandemic. As you know, Covid-19 severely impacted the 2020 season and many of last year’s events were rescheduled to 2021 dates. The Red Rocks team is currently working with our promoter partners – the ones who book the shows – to plan for a variety of scenarios this summer. While it’s too early to forecast attendance numbers, we understand that reduced capacity early in the season may mean some artists reschedule or cancel shows, so we anticipate some movement in the calendar ahead. This will be a rolling process with many factors based on our community’s progress in driving down Covid numbers.
Our team is collaborating with City and State officials to track Covid figures and plan for and implement the protocols required for fans to gather safely. For the latest updates, be sure to sign up for our Red Rocks newsletter (redrocksonline.com/signup) and visit our website for up-to-date calendar listings and information. We will continue to share news and safety protocols as we have them and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET
As we move into the second month of 2021, the festival cancellations keep coming. Some optimistic event organizers, however, are looking toward the second half of the year with a measure of hope for large-scale festivals and outdoor events.
On Wednesday, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced the cancellation of all 2021 entertainment events. The call comes after the large-scale, weeks-long event initially rescheduled its 2021 festivities from February/March to May. This announcement also comes after the event was forced to cancel a portion of its events in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
As Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president and CEO Chris Boleman noted in a press release, “While we were optimistic that moving our Rodeo to May would provide a better opportunity to host our annual community event that Rodeo fans have come to love and expect, unfortunately, it has become evident that the current health situation has not improved to the degree necessary to host our event.”
Alabama’s Hangout Music Fest, which last year punted its spring 2020 event to May 2021 after initially postponing from May to September, also released a statement officially foregoing its planned May 2021 dates. The statement from organizers noted that they will continue to explore possibilities for dates later in 2021 or, failing that, will look to May 2022 for the next Hangout.
While cancellations remain the theme, some 2021 festivals are pushing forward with COVID-conscious measures in place. Elements Music & Arts Festival on Wednesday announced the initial lineup for its 2021 festival set to take place on September 3rd–6th, 2021 in northeast Pennsylvania. Scheduled performers include Chris Lake, Diplo, Bonobo, Ganja White Night, Bob Moses, CloZee, Yotto, Claude VonStroke, and Rusko. The music and camping festival will employ a two-part COVID-19 testing policy, which will require ticket-holders to show proof of vaccination or take a free PCR lab COVID-19 test before the event plus an additional rapid test at the time of arrival on-site.
Saturday, January 30, 2021, 8:00 a.m. ET
Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival, which was set to return Pop’s Farm in Martinsville, VA this May after being canceled in 2020, has again been canceled, organizers announced on Friday.
A lengthy statement shared to the festival’s Facebook page on Friday confirms Rooster Walk 12 will no longer take place as planned on May 27th-30th, 2021, and will now take place in the fall as “Rooster Walk Reunion” scheduled for October 8th-10th, 2021.
“RW Reunion will bring many of your favorite bands, vendors and friends back to Pop’s for something that looks and feels like RW in all the right ways, but adds changing leaves, cooler temperatures and an even more intimate vibe,” the statement reads. “We are sooooo excited about this! Stay tuned for more details very soon…”
Additionally, organizers revealed there will also be a series of one-off, socially distanced (pod) concerts at Pop’s Farm (complete with on-site camping) beginning Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 28th, and Saturday, May 29th.
“It goes without saying that we’re extremely bummed to miss out on Rooster Walk in May yet again,” the statement continues. “However, we are very excited to offer the spring shows and Rooster Walk Reunion, all of which will allow camping, dancing, and much-needed merriment at Pop’s Farm this year!”
Information for Rooster Walk ticket roll-overs/exchanges/refunds will be shared in the coming weeks. Head to the event website for more info.
Friday, January 29, 2021, 7:00 p.m. ET
Health officials in Riverside County, CA where both Coachella and Stagecoach festivals take place have confirmed the two major music events will no longer happen as scheduled in April 2020.
The latest cancellation of Coachella, which was set to return on April 9th-11th and April 16th-18th, and Stagecoach (April 23rd-25th) was confirmed on Friday afternoon by Dr. Cameron Kaiser, a public health officer for Riverside County, who shared via his Twitter, “Due to the pandemic, Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser today (Jan. 29) signed a public health order canceling Coachella Valley Music and Arts, Stagecoach Country Music festivals planned for April 2021. We look forward to when the events may return.”
No rescheduled 2021 dates for either event have been confirmed by the festivals’ producers AEG/Goldenvoice, Billboard also confirmed. Earlier reports shared back in October 2020 revealed Goldenvoice was already planning to reschedule its spring events again to sometime in fall 2021.
Monday, January 25, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET
Organizers for the California Roots festival have announced the 2021 iteration of the annual springtime event will now be pushed back to next year.
A statement shared by event organizers on Friday reads,
Dear Cali Roots Family, Never did we ever think we’d be saying this but here goes. Due to the uncertainty around large-scale event production and COVID safety, Cali Roots will be postponed until May 2022.
This is certainly not what we had hoped for, but it is clear that we will not be able to produce Cali Roots in any sort of form that will look and feel like our beloved festival this year. We miss our Cali Roots family so much. This past year has been incredibly challenging and awash with losses, but also full of unexpected blessings. Thank you to all who continue to support us by hanging on to your tickets and buying merch from our online store (new products & designs rolling out all year!). The love and hope you share with us continues to push us. We are determined to be standing when the dust settles and are counting the days until we are together again.
Please stay safe, stay positive and keep those good vibes flowing. All 2020 & 2021 tickets will be honored for Cali Roots 2022. We will be sending an email to all ticket holders with further information.
The festival will now take place at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center on May 26th-29th, 2022. Head to the event website for more info.
Saturday, January 23, 2021, 1:00 p.m. ET
With uncertainty around the status of live music in early 2021, Genesis has now decided to start the tour on Wednesday, September 15th, at Dublin, Ireland’s 3Arena. Following a second night at 3Arena, The Last Domino? tour will run through Belfast, Ireland (9/18) before making its way through Birmingham (9/20-22), Manchester (9/24-25), Leeds (9/27-28), Newcastle (9/30-10/1), Liverpool (10/3-4), and Glasgow (10/7-8), England. Genesis will end the tour at The O2 in London, England with a three night run from October 11th-13th.
“The decision to move the tour again is due to the global pandemic, and even with the roll out of the vaccine, there are still a huge amount of uncertainties and unanswered questions that make a tour in April difficult for everyone,” said the band in a statement. “It is appreciated, that for whatever reason, those planning on attending the shows may not feel comfortable doing so, so by moving the tour we can alleviate some of those concerns and in turn that will allow the band and the crew to prepare with less unpredictability and create a show that both the band and fans alike will treasure and enjoy.”
Thursday, January 21, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET
Organizers for Georgia’s SweetWater 420 Fest and the U.K.’s Glastonbury have both announced the cancelation of their 2021 festivals.
Announced early Thursday morning, Glastonbury’s organizers Michael and Emily Eavis shared a post to the festival’s social media pages which reads, “With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us. Tickets purchased in October 2019 will roll over to 2022. Full statement below and on our website. Thank you for your incredible continued support. Michael & Emily.”
The massive U.K. music festival had hoped to celebrate its 50th running this summer after having to cancel its 2020 event, with planned headlining performances from names like Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift.
Read the full announcement below.
With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us. Tickets for this year will roll over to next year. Full statement below and on our website. Michael & Emily pic.twitter.com/SlNdwA2tHd
— Glastonbury Festival (@glastonbury) January 21, 2021
A few hours after Glastonbury’s 2021 cancelation announcement, organizers for SweetWater 420 Fest, which typically takes place in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park in late April each year, also confirmed the cancelation for this year’s event, with no plans to reschedule for the summer or fall months. Read the full announcement below.
We have been waiting patiently on the sidelines in the hopes that a vaccine rollout and health advances would allow us to gather at the level we would have liked in April. It is painfully clear that this will not be possible. Sadly, the April 2021 SweetWater 420 Fest is canceled. pic.twitter.com/t3ZnBCIWAJ
— SweetWater 420 Fest (@420fest) January 21, 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET
Organizers for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival announced on Tuesday that the 2021 edition of the long-running festival will now take place from October 8th–17th. The 2021 edition of Jazz Fest had been scheduled to take place in late April/early May following its postponement and eventual cancellation in 2020. Now, much like in 2020, organizers are looking instead to the fall.
In a statement shared by festival organizers on Tuesday, producer/director of Jazz Fest Quint Davis said,
We are all ready to get together again and share that special spirit that lives at Jazz Fest. It’s taking longer than we want, but we’ll have our celebration when the time comes. Your health, along with the health of our musicians, food and crafts vendors, and all of the folks that work to make the magic happen, remains the priority as we plan the return of Jazz Fest.
While yet another postponement may seem disheartening, this latest postponement shows some promise with regard to how event organizers are approaching this still-uncertain year. Back in November of 2020, city officials announced that all New Orleans Mardi Gras parades would be permitted in February—an anticipatory move informed by projections of what the pandemic situation might be at that point in time. While the prognosis for February looked too bleak to truly entertain back in November, the city and the event’s organizers clearly have a more positive outlook on the viability of large events in October from where (when?) we sit in January.
New Orleans’ French Quarter Festival has similarly rescheduled its usual spring event to the fall. Organizers noted that the event would aim to return to its customary spring dates in 2022.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 11:30 a.m. ET
Organizers at festivals including Northwest String Summit and Governors Ball have announced rescheduled dates for their planned 2021 and 2022 events. With COVID-19 vaccine rollouts still in the first stages, more festivals scheduled for the spring and early summer months are likely to also be pushed back in the coming weeks.
The long-running Northwest String Summit which takes place at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, OR every summer will return next year over the weekend of July 21st—24nd, 2022. A statement shared by event organizers on Tuesday reads,
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainties surrounding the timeframe of vaccination rollout and subsequently Oregon’s timeline to opening up and allowing mass gatherings, we have made the difficult decision to further postpone Northwest String Summit festival and reschedule the 20th Anniversary Northwest String Summit for July 21-24, 2022.
Additionally, New York City’s Governors Ball, which typically takes place on Randall’s Island in early June each year, will now take place on September 24th—26th, 2021. The announcement shared by event organizers on Wednesday also notes, “Rest assured, we are working closely with the city and state authorities to ensure a safe experience for all. For more info on rolling over your 2020 tickets or requesting a refund, head to govball.com.”
Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET
Scientists in Spain confidently declared that a concert experiment that drew 463 participants to an indoor venue produced no new infections of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Conducted on December 12th, the experiment organized by the Foundation against AIDS and Infectious Diseases of the University Hospital Germans Trias I Pujol in the municipality of Badalona brought concertgoers to Sala Apolo in Barcelona. The venue’s normal capacity of 900 was reduced to 500 subjects who were allowed to attend, 463 of whom showed up.
Researchers entered into the experiment with the hypothesis that a live concert performed under safe conditions would not be associated with an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, which has thus been proven. The safety measures introduced by researchers and the venue included lowering capacity from 900 down to 500 (only 463 attendants showed up), a mask requirement whenever not actively drinking, optimized room ventilation in the concert room and bar, staggered exiting to a limited smoking patio, and the use of arrows and security personnel to direct the flow of foot traffic.
The experiment also included 496 participants who did not attend the event and were part of the control group. Eight days after the concert experiment, all participants—including those from the control group—returned to researchers for a follow-up visit to complete another nasal swab test to detect SARS-CoV-2 infections. The final result showed that none of the 463 concertgoers were infected with SARS-CoV-2, while two of the 496 members of the control group were infected.
In light of these results, researchers concluded, “Attending a live music concert staged with a series of security measures that included a negative antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 done on the same day, was not associated with an increase in COVID-19 infections.”
The study concluded, “Hopefully this data will pave the way to save live concerts during the COVID pandemic.”
Thursday, January 7, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET
As we move into the second calendar year of the coronavirus-incited shutdown of the live music and events industry, the future remains relatively unclear. Earlier this week, The Recording Academy announced that its annual Grammy Awards broadcast, which was scheduled for January 31st, has been pushed to March as the virus situation continues to worsen in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
As the award show’s producers noted in a joint statement, “After thoughtful conversations with health experts, our host and artists scheduled to appear, we are rescheduling the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® to be broadcast Sunday, March 14, 2021. The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show.”
While COVID-19 numbers are at their worst ever, vaccine distribution is underway in all fifty states, presenting something of a light at the end of the tunnel for live music. Many venues, like Red Rocks Amphitheatre, have full slates of scheduled 2021 events on their calendars, but those are mostly overflow postponements from 2020. The venue and its operating agency, Denver Arts & Venues, have yet to comment on their official plans regarding the 2021 season. As we know all too well, the pandemic will continue to dictate the rules for the foreseeable future.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET
While cases continue to spike around the U.S., recent coronavirus vaccine developments have event production giant Live Nation looking toward next summer with newfound optimism.
In an interview on CNBC‘s Squawk Alley on Monday, Live Nation president Joe Berchtold explained, “In the key U.S./Western European markets, it continues to be our expectation that by next summer, we’re back with our major outdoor shows—our amphitheaters here in the U.S., festivals globally. We’ll be able to do those shows.”
He continued, “It’s our expectation in general that we’ll be able to get back to have full-capacity shows, that we won’t need social distancing—certainly outdoors—by next summer. We’ve got a number of protocols we’ll take with all of our venues in terms of how it is we make sure we’re sanitizing and creating a safe environment for our artists, our employees, and our fans.”
“We think that by that point,” he added, “we’ll have enough distribution of vaccine, the expectation that it will be readily available for everybody. And we’ll work with all the local public health authorities. Again, on a global basis, there will be different rules in different markets, and whatever it is that’s required, but in general, we think we’ll be able to get back to full capacity and people enjoying the shows.”
Watch the full interview with Live Nation’s Joe Berchtold on Squawk Alley here.
Tuesday, December 1, 2020, 4:30 p.m. ET
The Flaming Lips have postponed their planned bubble concerts at the Criterion in their native Oklahoma City to January 22nd—23rd, 2021, the band announced on Monday. The shows, originally slated for December 11th—12th, were rescheduled as COVID-19 cases in the band’s native Oklahoma continue to soar.
Announced last month, the bubble concerts were an innovative solution that would have allowed hundreds of fans indoors for a concert by the psych-pop rockers. While frontman Wayne Coyne and the rest of the band are still convinced of the bubble concept’s effectiveness, the decision came out of an abundance of caution toward those traveling from outside the OKC area. As the singer told Rolling Stone,
If you have to get on a plane, find a hotel — that’s a lot of areas that aren’t our concert. So we’re hoping by the third week in January that all this activity around New Year’s Eve and Christmas will have started to play out. Then we might be able to be in a stable position when we can say, ‘Let’s try to do these space bubble concerts.’
Even as bands and promoters alike try to come up with creative solutions to the overwhelming constraints put on the live music industry, the reality of the pandemic is inescapable.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
The city of New Orleans announced on Tuesday that there will be no parades permitted during Mardi Gras 2021 in February. The decision from the city acknowledges the virtual certainty that the coronavirus pandemic will continue to preclude mass gatherings through the winter months.
The many parades hosted and highlighted during Mardi Gras by the city’s various Krewes are an integral facet of the Big Easy’s storied culture, but the massive crowds they typically draw, from locals to out-of-town tourists, pose some clear issues in a city in which indoor concerts at bars and regular parades and second lines remain prohibited under the city’s Phase 3.3 reopening protocols.
The decision came as a shock to the city’s Krewes, who had been instructed to devise ways to make their parades comply with social distancing guidelines but had not been given the indication that they would be canceled outright. Dan Kelly, president of the Krewe of Endymion, told nola.com that the restrictions came as “a total shock.” Putting on the parades, he said, “means a lot to the city, and it means a lot to the people of New Orleans.” Added Arthur Hardy, a longtime chronicler of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, “Why were we advised to reinvent our parades and figure out how we can socially distance, take temperatures on the floats, if we knew all along — or the city knew all along — that there wouldn’t be parades?”
Noting the difficulty of the situation, Hardy added, “The bad guy here is the virus. It’s a tough position to be in.”
City officials stressed that Carnival 2021 is not “canceled,” and couldn’t be, given that it is a weeks-long cultural celebration tied to the religious traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. As such, the mayor’s office is officially seeking input from the public as to how the city can safely celebrate Carnival in 2021.
With mass gatherings seemingly already deemed unsafe in New Orleans through February 2021, music fans’ thoughts may drift to New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, scheduled to take place in late April/early May following its postponement and eventual cancellation in 2020. While the Mardi Gras parade cancellation surely isn’t a promising sign with regard to the festival’s viability next spring, it is genuinely difficult to predict how the coronavirus picture will look by that time. With the announcement of Moderna‘s promising new vaccine (partly funded by Dolly Parton), we now have two potentially viable vaccine options in progress. Much like Mardi Gras, however it turns out, Jazz Fest 2021 will likely look quite different from previous years.
Sunday, November 15, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
As the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. blows past previous highs leading into the winter months, a full-blown Ultra Music Festival event took place on Saturday in Taiwan, where the virus has been effectively contained. The event featured multiple artists including headliner Alesso, lavish stage production and pyrotechnics, and a number of interactive art installations—all without social distancing.
How can Taiwan pull this off in the thick of a pandemic? Due to the country’s strict, decisive response to the initial outbreak, there have been no locally-transmitted cases in the East Asian country in more than 200 days. A number of reasons have played a role in Taiwan’s ability to prevent the virus from spreading (the island, population 23 million, has recorded 550 total cases and only seven deaths). A feature in Time attributed Taiwan’s success to closing borders early and strictly regulating travel; efficiently producing, stockpiling, and distributing protective masks; rigorous contact tracing and quarantine protocols; and the lasting cultural memory of the SARS outbreak in 2003, which killed ten times more people in the country than COVID-19 has this year.
While cases soar, the promising new vaccine trials have prompted U.S. event organizers to look toward a post-pandemic future for live events in North America. Ticketmaster is reportedly developing a framework for event organizers to require and verify negative tests and/or vaccine status for ticket-holders. The ticketing giant is also developing its SmartEvent System to help venues better prepare for the return of live events.
Monday, November 9, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
While the industry has gone to great, inventive lengths to survive in the age of social distancing, it has been clear since the beginning of the pandemic that live music would not be able to return to any semblance of the “old normal” until the coronavirus is effectively contained via a vaccine. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partners BioNTech delivered some promising news on that front on Monday.
Per The New York Times, “Pfizer announced on Monday that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19.”
The drug maker released only sparse details of the trial, based on the first formal review of the findings by an outside panel of experts, but did announce that the analysis found that “the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease among trial volunteers who had no evidence of prior coronavirus infection.”
We still need to wait for further review of the results and review of its long-term safety, not to mention carry out the actual task of administering a vaccine to a critical mass of people. However, the existence of a vaccine would represent something of a “light at the end of the tunnel” for live music—an actual way out of this mess.
In other news, evangelical California Christian rocker/failed politician Sean Feucht hosted hundreds of maskless people at an unsanctioned “prayer gathering” in New Orleans on Saturday, prompting anger and frustration from citizens, local musicians, and city officials alike.
Monday, November 2, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
Back in July, scientists in Germany announced a concert experiment to better understand the way that germs move in a large indoor setting. The experiment was conducted in late August and saw 1,200 concert-goers converge on Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Leipzig where they were required to wear masks and were equipped with matchstick-sized “contact tracers” around their necks to track the spread of simulated viral particles in the arena.
The study was posted online and announced at a news conference on Thursday but has not yet been peer reviewed.
The researchers’ findings proved somewhat promising, though far from immediate. In short, they surmised that with protocols in place for more risky elements of the concert experience—including staggered entry times, mask mandates, restrictions on concessions, temperature checks, installation of specific air filtration/ventilation systems, and a few more—concerts could move forward without much risk of spreading the virus.
Those findings must be taken with a grain of salt, however, as it would prove highly difficult to implement the model laid out by the study at a real-life concert, and even more so for the majority of venues to actually implement those changes to their infrastructure amid current economic conditions. With cases on the rise in the U.S. to boot, we wouldn’t hold our breath for large-scale indoor concerts anytime soon.
Read our piece unpacking the findings from the study here.
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 9:30 a.m. ET
As we approach Halloween weekend, typically one of the biggest weekends of the year for live music, the cancellation picture remains in flux as coronavirus numbers increase around the country and the world. While bands across the country have managed to find ways to play shows over the last few months, the threat of the virus as a spoiler remains for even the safest, most socially-distanced outdoor concert models.
In Colorado, where smaller shows have been going on for several weeks, a new spike in cases has pushed the state back to Phase 3 of its reopening plan, a step in the wrong direction with regard to the viability of full live shows in the near future. We’re also starting to see the cancellation of some drive-in shows as positive tests pop up within touring crews—another wrinkle of COVID-era touring that seems somewhat unavoidable as the virus rages on.
As infection numbers continue to rise and temperatures continue to drop, eliminating many options for outdoor shows, you can likely expect live music options for the rest of the year to dwindle to spring/summer 2020 frequency—i.e., not much at all.
Monday, October 17, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
Hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia announced a live performance at Louisville, KY’s Rupp Arena on December 11th. The group is marketing the performance as the first indoor arena concert in the country since the pandemic began—”approved by the Governor.”
“We have been in contact with the KY State Department of Health for many weeks working out the details and coming up with a plan that fulfills the safety protocols recommended by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Lexington Center Corporation CEO/President Bill Owen said of the upcoming event. “We are confident that the measures we have put in place will provide a safe environment for patrons to come out and enjoy live entertainment. We are excited for this opportunity to reopen our doors and welcome concert-goers back to Rupp Arena!”
While this is certainly a step toward some sort of normalcy in terms of live concerts, it’s only a small one. The concert will be limited to 15% of the usual capacity, including a max of 3,152 patrons plus event staff, a model that seems financially unsustainable in the longterm. Beyond that, COVID cases have been on the rise all over the country in recent weeks. Kentucky’s curve has been trending upward since the beginning of July, and just this past weekend recorded some of its highest numbers of new cases since the pandemic began. Who knows what the picture will look like there come December.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 4:00 p.m.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen many acts shift to socially-distanced concerts like drive-ins and pod shows—so much so that, at times, it almost feels like a new kind of touring circuit has sprouted out of these artists, promoters, and makeshift venues “making lemonde.” Of course, the effects of these developments in the pandemic-conscious concert space ripple outward, and some endeavors are finding non-COVID-related issues as they go. One popular socially-distanced venue that popped up in Connecticut over the summer, South Farms, has now been hit with a cease and desist from the town of Morris over zoning restrictions. Though the order won’t go into effect until next year, allowing the venue’s full schedule of fall shows to take place as planned, South Farms won’t be able to operate as a venue next spring, eliminating one of the few feasible live concert options available in the process.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020, 4:00 p.m.
Executives at Goldenvoice and AEG Presents are reportedly planning to reschedule the dates for Coachella and likely Stagecoach for the third time to the fall of 2021.
A new report shared by Rolling Stone on Wednesday reveals unnamed sources who have been in direct communication with Coachella organizers have been asked by those organizers to prepare for another reschedule to the fall 2021 months, although no specific dates were included. Another credible source, Mark Scott (city manager of Indio) tells Rolling Stone that his office is working on a “Budget option” for a possible third date postponement, but didn’t confirm any specific plans or dates.
The report shared on Wednesday comes after organizers for arguably the largest and most successful pop and country music festivals in North America have already been forced to reschedule their events not once, but twice since the emergence of COVID-19 in the early months of 2020. Goldenvoice first rescheduled the two spring 2020 festivals–which both take place on the same location in Indio, CA–to October 2020, but by mid-summer organizers were ultimately forced to push both events back even further to spring 2020. As of Wednesday, Coachella is still scheduled to take place on April 9th-11th, 2021 (weekend one), and April 16th-18th, 2021 (weekend two), with Stagecoach set for April 23rd-25th, 2021.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 1:00 p.m.
The next Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has been pushed even further into the future, marking its third postponement due to the coronavirus. The festival will now take place on September 2nd–5th, 2021.
For those keeping track, since the last Bonnaroo took place last summer, the festival has officially announced four different dates for the next installment. Of note, the initial postponement of Bonnaroo back in March was one of the developments we highlighted in the first entry in this Concert Cancellation Tracker. More than six months and many updates later, the future of the live events industry remains just as uncertain as it was in the Spring.
The many Roo postponements provide a telling look at the universal uncertainty facing the live music industry at this time. Everyone is working very hard to make things work and make them safe, but the goal posts are constantly moving. The story of Bonnaroo’s various postponements over the past several months presents a quintessentially “2020” narrative. Originally announced on January 7th of this year, the 2020 edition of the Manchester, TN festival was set to take place on June 11th–14th, 2020. Then, on March 18th, as the scope of the coronavirus’ inevitable effects on the live events industry suddenly became quite apparent, Bonnaroo organizers postponed the 2020 event to late September of this year—a common reaction from large-scale, early-summer festivals at that time. However, as the scope of the pandemic worsened in the U.S. in late June, the Bonnaroo team made the call to throw in the towel on 2020 and instead look toward next year, pushing the postponed September dates back to June 17th–20th, 2021.
The festival did manage to provide fans with a weekend of entertainment on the initial rescheduled September dates this past weekend with a weekend-long streaming event featuring new and archival performances from a slew of Bonnaroo artists, dubbed Virtual ROO-ALITY.
Friday, September 25, 2020, 7:00 p.m.
As states gradually reopen with a myriad of safety measures and social distancing protocols in place, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has decided to throw caution to the wind. On Friday, DeSantis signed an executive order lifting all COVID-19 restrictions on all businesses in the state, including bars, restaurants, music venues, and sports arenas/stadiums. The executive order also limits the ability of local governments to enforce their own safety protocols, like the mask-wearing mandate in Miami that corresponded with a significant drop in cases in the city in the late summer.
“There will not be limitations from the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during a press conference Friday. “I think this will be very, very important to the industry. Some of the local [governments] can do reasonable regulations, but you can’t say no after six months and just have people twisting in the wind.”
Although the thought of live music getting back to normal is something we are all eagerly anticipating, the hardline decision from DeSantis has unsurprisingly troubled some local officials.
“The mask in public rule was something we were heavily enforcing, and that was, I believe, a big reason why the numbers were going down so dramatically,” Miami mayor Francis Suarez told CNN. “I think it’s going to have a huge impact. I just don’t know how many people are actually going to do it now.”
Thursday, September 17, 2020, 5:30 p.m.
While the live music industry remains mostly crippled, we’re slowly seeing pandemic-conscious live performances trickle back at different rates across the country. In the Northeast, drive-in shows and, increasingly, “pod”-style concert formats have become regular occurrences, creating something of a touring “circuit” for mid-level bands. In Colorado, various limited-capacity indoor (100 people) and outdoor (175 people) shows have been announced for the coming weeks.
Despite the short-term success of these socially distant models, new developments in other parts of the world seem to indicate that they will not necessarily work as long-term solutions for the events industry. In the U.K., the highly publicized Virgin Money Unity Arena, a 2,500-capacity, socially-distanced concert venue, confirmed on Thursday that it would shut down after just six weeks due to a spike in COVID-19 cases and subsequent new lockdown restrictions on the Newcastle region. While the concerts themselves may have been run safely, the influx of travelers to the venue seems to align with the spike in cases in the area over that six-week period.
Monday, September 14, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
The television broadcast on the morning of Thanksgiving will air pre-taped performances from local musicians and entertainers who weren’t named specifically with the announcement. Additionally, the famous large balloons will still be flown without a large number of handlers as per usual, but rather an “Innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYPD,” de Blasio’s press announcement on Monday revealed.
“It will not be the same parade we’re used to. It will be a different kind of an event,” the Mayor said with Monday’s address. “They’re reinventing the event for this moment in history.” Thanksgiving takes place on Thursday, November 26th.
Friday, September 11, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
The Americana Music Association has officially called off its Americana Honors & Awards ceremony at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The event was set to take place just five days from now on Wednesday, September 16th.
As Americana Music Association executive director Jed Hilly noted along with the announcement, “Despite all our hope, logistical wrangling and passion, we have concluded that it would not be safe to conduct the Americana Honors & Awards at the wonderful and historic Ryman Auditorium next Wednesday, September 16. … We’ve carefully evaluated safety measures both with an audience and without. It is our conclusion that if just one person walked out of the Ryman with COVID-19, we would not be able to forgive ourselves. We are making new plans to celebrate the nominees and to proclaim the winners later this fall, and we hope to have details on that shortly.”
The late John Prine, who won artist of the year a record three times, is vying for a record-extending fourth award in that category. Prine died on April 7 at age 73 after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Brandi Carlile, who won artist of the year last year, is also nominated in the category. She is vying to become just the third repeat winner in the category, following Prine and Buddy Miller.
The other three nominees are Brittany Howard, leader of Alabama Shakes, who released her solo debut album Jamie; Tanya Tucker, who won a Grammy for best country album for While I’m Livin’, and Yola, a Grammy nominee for best new artist.
If the Americana Honors & Awards show had gone on as planned on September 16th, it would have conflicted with the virtual ACM Awards, which are taking place in Nashville for the first time from three crowd-less venues: The Ryman, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Bluebird Cafe.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020, 4:45 p.m. ET
A new study by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics asserts that the recent Sturgis Motorcycle Rally can be linked to over 260,000 COVID-19 cases around the country. The 10-day rally and music festival, held in South Dakota last month, drew well over 400,000 attendees to the sleepy town of Sturgis with a year-round population of around 7,000. These new case numbers would represent roughly 20% of the 1.4 million new coronavirus cases in the U.S. between August 2nd and September 2nd.
As if the estimated 266,796 coronavirus cases that supposedly stemmed from the event weren’t enough, those cases have also resulted in an estimated $12.2 billion in public health costs. Economists reached that figure by using a separate estimation that it costs approximately $46,000 to treat each COVID-19 case. The researchers said the following to add some perspective, “This is enough to have paid each of the estimated 462,182 rally attendees $26,553.64 not to attend.”
The study, conducted by researchers Dhaval Dave, Andrew I. Friedson, Drew McNichols, and Joseph J. Sabia, uses a model based on cell phone tracking data and CDC numbers in order to examine the spread of the virus. The model has since been decried by local public health officials as inaccurate. Local officials have also noted that the study has not been peer reviewed and that the model does not align with reported numbers.
That discrepancy is because the state is identifying specific cases through contact tracing. The study takes a different approach, looking at the areas that sent the most people to the rally and how case trends changed after the event rather than direct contact tracing.
In a statement to Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Andrew Friedson, one of the authors of the study, noted, “We’re never going to be able to contact trace every single person from Sturgis,” Friedson said. “So if we want a good-faith estimate using, at the moment, the accepted statistical techniques … this is the best number we’re going to get in my opinion.”
Read the full report here.
Monday, September 7, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
While Labor Day Weekend has come and gone without the customary slew of big end-of-season concerts and festivals, bands like Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, Dark Star Orchestra, Kitchen Dwellers, Andy Frasco & The U.N., and many more hit the stage for socially distant drive-in concerts this weekend.
In terms of the return of “normal” concerts, the future remains a mystery. It seems, at the very least, that most large events have already abandoned hope for 2020 and are looking hopefully toward 2021. Last week, Art Basel in Miami Beach, the global art and culture festival that takes places each December, has been canceled.
While some had held out hope that the event would be able to go on as planned on its usual December 3–6 dates, officials said they had little choice given the continued uncertainty over the pandemic’s course, international travel restrictions and quarantine regulations across the country and abroad.
Saturday, September 5, 2020, 4:30 p.m. ET
Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke has postponed and cancelled dates for his Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes solo tour, after initially moving the spring 2020 tour to the fall. Yorke’s shows in New York, NY (10/2-10/4), Phoenix, AZ (10/11), and Sacramento, CA (10/13) have been postponed indefinitely. Furthermore, his performances in Washington D.C. (9/27), Chicago, IL (10/6), and Denver, CO (10/19) have been cancelled completely. Refunds can be obtained from the point of purchase. Head here for more information.
Saturday, September 5, 2020, 3:30 p.m. ET
Billy Joel has rescheduled his performances at Madison Square Garden for the fall of 2021 and winter 2022. While the concerts were originally scheduled for March through August 2020, Joel initially rescheduled them for Fall 2020 back in April as COVID-19 swept across the U.S. Now, as the halt on large-scale live events continues into its sixth month, The Piano Man was forced to reschedule once again.
The new run of shows are set to commence on November 5th, 2021. He will then perform at the historic New York City arena once a month for the following five months, with shows on December 20th, January 14th, 2022, February 12th, 2022, and finally Match 24th, 2022.
All tickets purchased for the original shows will be valid for the rescheduled performances. Furthermore, ticket holders can receive a refund within 30 days by contacting Ticketmaster or the Madison Square Garden box office. Head to Joel’s website for more information.
Tuesday, September 1st, 2020, 4:30 p.m. ET
The Ryman Auditorium, affectionately known as “The Mother Church of Country Music,” will host a live concert with a live audience this Friday, September 4th for the first time since shows at the Nashville venue were paused in March. Travis McCreery will perform for a reduced-capacity audience of 125 (the venue normally holds more than 2,300) seated in “PODS” of two to six people. Masks will be mandatory for all guests and staffs, and all concession areas will remain closed throughout the evening. While this is something of a symbolic win, it’s nonetheless encouraging to see the Mother Church get (some of) her congregation back after nearly six months.
Monday, August 31, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET
Over the weekend, organizers of LOCKN’ announced that the festival will ultimately be pushed back to October 1st–3rd, 2021. Originally, organizers had postponed the event to October 2nd–4th, 2020 in the hope that the situation surrounding live music would calm down by then. Even as all other large scale festivals cancelled, the LOCKN’ team held their ground and even sent out safety measures to ticketholders last month.
Now instead of the physical festival, Peter Shapiro and the LOCKN’ team will host a three-night run of audienceless Joe Russo’s Almost Dead concerts at Infinity Downs in Arrington, VA. Ticketholders will be given free access to the streams, hosted on Shapiro’s FANS website. LOCKN’s cancellation marks the last of the big festivals that tried to merely postpone to later in the year with the hopes of conditions improving by then.
Monday, August 24, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
Five months after concert promoters and event planners began to cancel or postpone their planned tours, concerts, and festivals, it now appears COVID-19 will wreak havoc on awards season as well. On Monday, organizers for the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards, which was originally scheduled to take place on March 29th at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, has been canceled altogether. The annual pop music-focused event was postponed back on March 16th.
According to an announcement shared by Billboard on Monday confirms winners will still be announced over the Labor Day weekend on 840 iHeartRadio stations across the country and through the radio broadcaster’s social media pages. Virtual acceptance speeches from the winners will also be included in the updated programming.
Wednesday, August 19, 2:00 p.m. ET
Since the innovative idea of drive-in concerts emerged from European event producers back in late April, more and more artists are continuing to test out on that idea. Despite some setbacks caused by a few instances of social distancing violations at certain events, the drive-in model has become something of a “new normal.”
In the last week, a long list of performers announced and performed drive-in shows, with more being announced every day. Those getting in on the drive-in trend include Umphrey’s McGee, Marc Rebillet, Goose, Billy Strings, Yonder Mountain String Band, Twiddle, Marcus King Trio, Dark Star Orchestra, Citizen Cope, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, SunSquabi, Guster, Pink Talking Fish, and The Avett Brothers, among many others.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 1:00 p.m. ET
Just one day after announcing their first drive-in shows scheduled for early September, Umphrey’s McGee has confirmed their upcoming performances in California, Texas, and Oklahoma–which were also set to take place next month–will now be pushed back to September 2021.
A statement shared by the band on Wednesday reads, “We remained hopeful that we might be able to tour this fall, however due to the realties surrounding Covid19, we are postponing all CA, TX & OK ’20 dates to Sept ’21. Tix will be valid for the ’21 dates & refunds available via purchase point. Be safe and take care of each other.”
The rock band has already postponed some of their biggest performances that were planned for 2020, including their UMBowl shows at The Capitol Theatre and their RÖCKJAVIK destination event in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Fans should head to the band’s website for more info.
Thursday, August 13, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET
KISS has rescheduled the remaining dates on their 2020 End of the Road farewell tour with David Lee Roth to next year, the band announced on Wednesday.
The initial run of 2020 North American performances as part of the classic rock band’s final tour began back on February 1st and was scheduled to continue through the summer and into fall, but the arrival of COVID-19 in mid-March shut the tour down indefinitely. The rescheduled 2021 dates will now pick up next summer on August 18th in Mansfield, MA, and will continue through the fall before wrapping on October 6th in Lafayette, LA.
Click here to see the full listing of rescheduled dates and ticket info.
Friday, August 7, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
The Foo Fighters have canceled all of the dates as part of their 2020 Van Tour in celebration of the rock outfit’s 25th anniversary this year. The 10-show tour was initially scheduled to take place in April and May, and dates were optimistically rescheduled to October and December 2020 upon the arrival of COVID-19 earlier this year.
A statement shared to the band’s social media pages on Friday morning reads, “Foo Fighters have cancelled the Van Tour 2020. All shows listed below will be automatically refunded. For further information, please visit your point of purchase. We look forward to seeing you all as soon as it is safe for everyone to do so.”
Prior to the industry shutdown, singer Dave Grohl revealed the band had completed finalizing the recordings for what will be their 10th studio album.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET
On Tuesday, over 150 independent venues in New York City including the Bitter End, Bowery Ballroom, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Baby’s Alright, Knitting Factory, and more announced the formation of the New York Independent Venue Association (NYIVA), which is affiliated with NIVA on a more regional level.
The announcement coincides with NYIVA’s proposed day of action on Tuesday (August 4th) where the collection of venues is asking fans to help in contacting their congressional representatives and urge them to support the Save Our Stages Act and the Restart Act–the two pieces of bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Todd Young, Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar, and John Cornyn last month.
According to NYIVA’s announcement, venues in the busy New York City metro area will require roughly $300,000 (on average per venue) to sustain their businesses with staff payroll and overhead costs if they are to remain closed through the rest of the year. The announcement also states venue landlords could claim $150,000 in money owed from the past few months.
Click here to take action and contact your state legislators and help save the backbone of the live music industry before it’s too late.
Thursday, July 30, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
As the New York government continues to increase restrictions on drive-in events, Twiddle‘s three-night drive-in run in Lake George, NY this weekend has been canceled. As the band noted in a statement, “We are very sorry to report that our Lake George shows are cancelled this weekend. Our team spent the last 48 hours working through every possible scenario to not only make sure that the experience would be as great as possible given the current guidelines, but to make sure the event was safe in every way. We are just as upset and sad as you are and wanted nothing more than to play live again for all of you. We are extremely sorry, but safety has to be first and foremost. Tickets are available for refunds at point of purchase and we are working on something special for all those that had a ticket.” The band’s three scheduled drive-in shows in Vermont next month are, at this point, still moving forward as planned.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 6:30 p.m. ET
By this point, you’ve surely heard about the growing trend of drive-in concerts as a substitute for regular mass gatherings this summer. This model, however, is starting to show cracks with regard to its actual viability.
On Saturday, The Chainsmokers hosted a high-end drive-in event in the Hamptons (NY). Though organizers maintain that they tried to enforce social distancing guidelines, video from the event showed large crowds of people generally ignoring CDC and state guidelines. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo responded in a tweet on Monday that he was “appalled” at the footage, referring to the event’s apparent flaunting of distancing mandates as “egregious” and promising to launch an investigation into the event and its organizers. “We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health,” Cuomo concluded.
Perhaps this added pressure from the government is causing venues to rethink the risks posed to them and their reputations by these “socially distanced” shows—among others, this weekend’s moe. drive-in shows at Vernon Downs have been canceled. According to the announcement on the band’s social media pages, Vernon Downs informed them on Wednesday that they would no longer host the shows, billed as “moe.’s Miracle Mile”, originally scheduled to take place this Friday and Saturday, July 31st and August 1st.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET
Organizers for Borderland Music + Arts Festival have announced the cancelation of the 2020 event which was scheduled to return to its home at Knox State Park in East Aurora, NY on September 19th-20th. The annual end-of-summer festival will hopefully return in September 2021, with possible smaller events set to take place until then.
A statement shared by festival organizers on Wednesday morning reads,
To Our Friends,
As the days have gone by, we have tried to navigate these ever changing times the best we could, always holding on to hope. As of today, we have turned every possible stone and we understand that we are not able to deliver you the Borderland Festival experience under the current circumstances. Working within State of New York guidelines, we are moving the Borderland Music + Arts Festival to September 2021.
We are currently working on other ideas for September that will be more manageable and safe for social distancing with bands. We are also working expeditiously on new experiences and opportunities to bring you music and create community as we ride these waves of change. Please stay with us! We much think out of the box and pivot with the times but we promise to keep the music alive and to continue to deliver the Borderland vibe.
Ticketholders for the 2020 event are encouraged to head to the festival website for more info on refund options and the 2021 bling faith tickets.
Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
Wilco and Trampled By Turtles have postponed their three-show run of co-headlining performances scheduled for this September to now take place in 2021.
Announced on Tuesday, the two veteran rock acts will now embark on their short tour starting at Water Works Park in Des Moines, IA on September 16th, 2021; the Capital Credit Union Park in Green Bay, WI on September 17th, 2021; and Treasure Island Amphitheater in Welch, MN on September 18th, 2021.
Tickets for the 2020 dates will be honored in 2021, and refunds are available for ticketholders at the original point of purchase.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
Suwannee Hulaween has officially been canceled for 2020, organizers announced today. The Halloween music festival, slated for October 29th–November 1st at The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL, is traditionally one of the last and most popular festivals of the fall season. In a statement posted to social media, organizers stated that though they have been working tirelessly to assure a safe camping experience at Suwannee, the state of Florida itself has not been working as hard toward the same goal.
Conversely, the U.K. government has announced that indoor concerts will return to England beginning on August 1st. The announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson marks the beginning of the fourth step in the Kingdom’s five-step approach to the return of the arts. Venues will be required to take extensive measures to ensure social distancing and prevent the spread of disease, many of which may be cost prohibitive and keep some venues from reopening at all, says BBC arts editor Will Gompertz.
Scientists in Germany have announced a concert experiment to better understand the way that germs move in a large indoor setting. During a concert from singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko in Leipzig, 4,000 volunteers will don matchstick-sized “contact tracers” which will track their interception of germs. Upon entry, each attendee will receive a dollop of hand sanitizer that, in addition to protecting against germs, will a UV-detectable trace element on any surface with which the person comes in contact. Researchers will also test three different entry scenarios during the event: the first being normal entry as was practiced pre-pandemic, the second being a slightly modified approach, and the third being a heavily regulated approach with capacity reduced to 2,000 people.
While many countries appear to be moving forward toward normalcy thanks to an abundance of caution, there are also plenty of detractors. This past weekend, July Mini Fest (formerly known as “Herd Immunity Fest“) took place at Ringle, WI’s Q&Z Expo Center. In addition to a slew of hard rock and nu metal bands, a crowd of 750 to 1,000 people, some practicing social distancing and many (according to Sponge frontman Vinnie Dombroski) not wearing masks, gathered for three days of outdoor music. Over across the pond, thousands of young people convened for an illegal rave at an airfield outside of Bath in England. In light of the large attendance (police estimated over 3,000 people), local law enforcement were unable to deter the mob of partiers.
There was also a small victory as Billy Strings marked one of the first performers to actually make up a concert appearance that was canceled due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, that appearance was only on Jimmy Kimmel Live! rather than The Peach Music Festival or Summer Camp, but seeing Strings make his late-night TV debut nonetheless felt like a win on the crawling timeline toward the return of live music.
Friday, July 17, 2020, 6:00 p.m. ET
BottleRock Napa has officially canceled its 2020 event after initially postponing from May to October back in March when the coronavirus cancellations began. The next BottleRock is now slated to take place on May 29–30th, 2021, with 2019 headliners Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Stevie Nicks signed on to perform. The full lineup will be announced at a later date.
LOCKN’ Festival, on the on the other hand, appears to be moving forward with its October date after similarly postponing from June. The festival released a number of updated safety guidelines it would implement for the planned October 2nd–4th at Infinity Downs and Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA. It’s worth noting, however, that the update was clarified “with the understanding that things might change.”
As we move into the summer months, more and more artists are devising ways to perform for their fans without congregating in person. On Friday, Greensky Bluegrass announced an 8-show series of pay-per-view shows with full production from an empty venue set to take place on Friday nights throughout the months of August and September. They join a slew of acts like Billy Strings, Marcus King, SunSquabi, Goose, Twiddle, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and more in devising creative ways to still perform this summer.
As the cancellations push deeper into the year (and, in the opinions of various industry execs, potentially into 2021 or even 2022), the calls for support for independent venues from congress have grown louder and louder. The state of Oregon seems to be ahead of the curve on this matter, as they recently approved a $50M chunk of their CARES Act funds to be distributed among various venues and arts organizations in the state.
Friday, July 10, 2020, 10:00 p.m. ET
The 2020 edition of Summer Camp Music Festival has officially been canceled. The Chillicothe, IL festival, featuring host bands moe. and Umphrey’s McGee, was originally set to celebrate its 20th anniversary over Memorial Day weekend back in May. In March, the gathering was pushed to the third weekend of August in hopes that the situation would have improved by that time. Now, organizers are throwing in the towel on 2020 and looking toward May 28th—30th, 2021 for their anniversary celebration.
Conversely, In My Elements, an electronic festival/health and wellness retreat at an “undisclosed lakefront summer camp” in Northeastern, PA, is set to begin today. Production company BangOn! has assured attendees and the general public that every abundance of precaution has been taken for the event, capped at 225 tickets. With “two part testing,” concertgoers, staff, and performers were tested for COVID-19 three days before the festival, as well at the front gates of the event. Meanwhile, while inside the grounds, social distancing guidelines will be enforced by “social distancing ambassadors.”
Additionally, Aerosmith has announced the postponement of the band’s 50th anniversary concert at Fenway Park. The show, originally set for September 18th, has now been pushed to September 14th, 2021. In a Facebook post announcing the postponement, the band said:
It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret, for the safety of our families, for our crews, for the fans and for the Blue Army. All tickets will be honored for the new date so hold onto yours! Or if you are unable to make it, you’ll be able to request a refund. Ticket holders will be emailed with all details. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. Big love from the Bad Boys of Boston.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET
The 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring this year’s class of Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G. T-Rex, Irving Azoff, and Jon Landau, has been canceled.
An announcement made by the organization on Wednesday reveals the 2020 event, which was initially postponed back on March 12th with the original onset of COVID-19 in North America, will no longer take place at all this year. In its place, the Hall of Fame museum will broadcast an exclusive special about this year’s honorees to air on HBO and HBO Max on November 8th. The virtual induction broadcast will feature the acceptance speeches from the class of 2020, along with interviews with inductees and artists by whom they’ve been influenced, archival content, and more.
The museum also announced the 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will move to the fall with the 36th Induction Ceremony returning to Cleveland.
Fans should head to the museum website for more info.
Friday, July 3, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET
As more and more artists adapt to the new drive-in concert trend in order to perform for their fans during the summer of coronavirus, one new venue in the U.K. is approaching social distancing head-on. Announced on Friday, the 2,500-capacity Virgin Money Unity Arena, a new venue specifically designed for social distancing, will open at the Newcastle Racecourse in August.
The racecourse, which has hosted horse races regularly since 1882, has been reconfigured for live concerts with personal, raised platforms for each cluster of guests and strict rules regarding parking, concessions, bathrooms, and more to keep fans safe while attending shows during the ongoing pandemic. In a statement accompanying the announcement, promoter SSD Concerts noted that “several high-profile artists signed up.” Keep an eye out for a full lineup on Tuesday, July 7th.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 11 a.m. ET
Austin City Limits has been officially postponed to 2021. The Texas-based, multi-weekend festival was scheduled to take place October 2nd—4th and 9th—11th at Austin’s Zilker Park. Instead, the cross-genre gathering will now take place October 1st—3rd and 8th—10th, 2021. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the festival, spawned from the popular PBS concert program.
2020 ticketholders have the option to retain their tickets for next year, and should have received email instructions from organizers on how to request refunds. Visit the Austin City Limits website for more information.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 1 p.m. ET
All Broadway theatrical productions will remain on hiatus until next year, as producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through January 3rd, 2021, Billboard reported on Tuesday. This marks the fourth time Broadway theaters have extended the pause on all shows since the initial shutdown on March 12th, and comes as New York City begins to reopen some businesses while many parts of the country are experiencing a dangerous resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
Thomas Schumacher, the chairman of the board of The Broadway League confirmed,
The alchemy of 1,000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses. The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so.
Click here to read the full report.
Monday, June 29, 2020, 4 p.m. ET
Primus has officially postponed its A Tribute To Kings tour for the third time. The tour that will see the nu metal pioneers perform the classic 1977 Rush album at every stop will now take place in 2021 after originally being pushed into the fall due to COVID-19. Bassist Les Claypool summed up the band’s feelings with a post announcing the further delay,
Third time is the charm…we’ve postponed this Tribute to King’s tour twice now. Once because we opted to help send Slayer on their way into retirement and once because mother nature decided to slap us all into isolation with a nasty virus. This time I will get to go out there and get my “Geddy on”. I’ve got my Ricky shined up and have been practicing my Moog licks. 2020 has proven to be one nasty kick to the crotch on many levels. This nation is divided beyond anything I’ve ever seen; from who’s wearing masks or not to who’s treating folks with common dignity…or not. Let’s hope 2021 will resolve us all into some form of unity. As far as touring, it will be nice to be back in the saddle again, see y’all next summer…”Geddy up!”
All 2020 tickets will be honored for the new dates. Ticketholders who are unable to attend the new dates will receive emailed instructions on how to request a refund. For more information click here.
Thursday, June 25, 2020, 1 p.m. ET
The 2020 edition of the Jersey Shore’s annual Sea.Hear.Now Festival which was scheduled to return to Asbury Park, NJ the weekend of September 19th—20th, has been pushed back to instead take place next year on September 18th—19th, 2021.
An announcement shared by festival organizers on Thursday, which includes veteran photographer Danny Clinch, revealed the new dates along with confirming Pearl Jam and The Avett Brothers would both stay on for the 2021 lineup. A number of artists from this year’s lineup are also expected to return in 2021 as well, but the announcement didn’t go into detail.
This year’s festival was set to feature additional performances from The Beach Boys, Patti Smith, Goose, Phoebe Bridgers, Cage The Elephant, Billy Idol, Reignwolf, Gang of Youths, Lord Huron, Dirty Heads, The Growlers, Grouplove, Dr. Dog, The Dirty Knobs with Mike Campbell, Liz Cooper and The Stampede, and more.
Tickets purchased for the 2020 event will be honored next year, and current ticket holders will soon receive an email with information on how to receive a refund.
Thursday, June 25, 2020, 1 p.m. ET
This year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has been canceled as the latest major live event called off entirely due to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. The four-day festival originally scheduled to return to Great Stage Park in Manchester, TN earlier this month was initially postponed to the September 24—27th in an act of wishful thinking back in mid-March.
Festival organizers shared a full statement on Thursday confirming the planned return of the long-running festival next summer on June 17th—20th, 2021. The announcement didn’t reveal any info regarding artist programming or a 2021 lineup.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 2 p.m. ET
Organizers for The Hog Farm Hangout have updated the postponement of this year’s event to forgo anything in 2020 and return next summer on June 11th—13th, 2021. All tickets purchased for the 2020 festival will be honored next June, and fans who cannot commit that far ahead will be offered a 30-day window to apply for a refund.
Wednesday’s announcement follows the last major update from Hog Farm organizers back when April when the festival was, in wishful thinking, pushed back to the weekend of September 18th—20th, 2020.
The 2021 event is still scheduled to feature performances from The String Cheese Incident (three nights), The Infamous Stringdusters, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Galactic, Fruition, Holly Bowling, and more.
Head to the festival website for more info.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 1 p.m. ET
Organizers for San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival have confirmed the cancelation of the 2020 summer event, and instead are looking ahead to 2021 with next year’s lineup and dates shared on Wednesday. The 2021 edition of Outside Lands will take place at Golden Gate Park on August 6th-8th, 2021, with performances from The Strokes, Lizzo, Tame Impala, Tyler, The Creator, Vampire Weekend, J Balvin, Kehlani, Khruangbin, The Soul Rebels, ZHU, and more.
A statement shared by Outside Land organizers reads,
To Our Outside Lands Community,
We would love nothing more than to be with you this August, listening to our favorite artists in Golden Gate Park and celebrating the best of the Bay Area for our 13th consecutive Outside Lands. After lengthy discussions with local and state health authorities about the impact of COVID-19 both in our community and throughout the world, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone’s health and safety that Outside Lands not be held in 2020.
In what has been a disappointing year for concertgoers and the music industry alike, Outside Lands is looking to the future. We all miss the much-needed community and positivity that comes with our annual celebration in San Francisco and we look forward to bringing the music back in 2021. We can’t wait to be back in Golden Gate Park with you, enjoying the best in music, food, beer, wine, art, cannabis and more for what we know will be our best year yet.
The health and safety of the Outside Lands and San Francisco communities have always been and will continue to be our top priority. We are in close contact with local and state officials, working together to create the safest possible environment for you, our fans.
Head to the festival website for more info and 2021 ticket details.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 3 p.m. ET
Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Festival, which was originally scheduled to return for its eighth year last month before being rescheduled to October, will now no longer take place at all in 2020, event organizers announced on Wednesday afternoon. The rock-focused festival, which was at first optimistically pushed back from May to October, was set to feature performances from The Black Keys, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Portugal. The Man, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and more.
A statement shared by Shaky Knees organizers reads,
Shaky Knees Music Festival will not take place in 2020. While we are disappointed to share this news, the health and safety of our fans, artists, partners, staff and community remains our top priority. Our gratitude goes out to the artists and fans who planned to join us this year, and we thank you all for your understanding.
Tickets purchased directly through the festival will be automatically refunded to the original account at point of purchase in as little as 30 business days. If you previously requested a refund, your refund is still being processed. We can’t wait to see you in 2021!
There was no mention as to what next year’s lineup might be compared to the planned 2020 lineup with the cancelation announcement. Head to the event website for more info. Click here to revisit Live For Live Music’s on-site coverage of Shaky Knees Festival in 2019.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 10 a.m. ET
Chicago’s Riot Fest will not take place in 2020 as event organizers confirmed they are now focusing their efforts ahead to 2021, an announcement shared on Wednesday morning festival confirmed.
In addition to confirming the dates for next year’s iteration of the annual punk and alt-rock festival for September 16th-19th, 2021 at Chicago’s Douglas Park, organizers also shared the first wave of artists set to perform next fall including My Chemical Romance, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Run The Jewels, Taking Back Sunday, Dirty Heads, Sublime with Rome, and more. An appropriately-titled “second wave a “final wave” of artists for the 2021 lineup will be revealed in the coming months.
Tuesday, June 16, 2020, 5 p.m. ET
Widespread Panic has announced the postponement of the band’s run of shows in Napa, CA set for September 4th—6th. That three-night run at Oxbow RiverStage will now take place September 3rd—5th, 2021. In the band’s announcement, Widespread Panic assured fans that tickets purchased for the original dates will be honored at the corresponding rescheduled shows.
This comes just days after the band postponed its three-night run in Austin, TX, yet again. Those concerts were originally slated for June 4th—6th and were pushed to July 23rd—25th back in April. Now, as the live music industry begins to take its first breath of air with socially distanced drive-in concerts, the band has pushed the Austin run of shows to January 21st—23rd, 2021. Once again, tickets purchased for the original dates will be honored at the rescheduled ones. Meanwhile, the band’s sold out three-night run in Chicago, originally rescheduled from April 2nd—4th, is still set to occur August 20th—22nd.
Tuesday, June 16, 2020, 10 a.m. ET
Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced at a press conference on Monday that the state will allow outdoor concerts to resume beginning on Thursday, June 18th. The guidelines will allow no more than 100 people at even the largest venues over 11,500 square feet, but the development nonetheless marks another bold step toward normalcy following the coronavirus shutdown of all live events.
Even as states like Colorado, Ohio, and others begin to gradually reopen the event economy, the threat of COVID-19 remains real throughout the country. In Miami, FL, the city has decided not to move into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan after a statewide spike in cases, even as Governor Ron DeSantis welcomed the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville last week and waved the green flag at the Dixie Vodka 400 NASCAR Cup Series in Homestead.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 10 a.m. ET
Coachella Valley Musc and Arts Festival won’t be taking place this fall after all, according to a new report shared by Billboard on Tuesday.
According to the report, event organizers are still weighing the risk factors to determine if Coachella could return at limited-capacity next April or possibly even October 2021 at full capacity. Sources at AEG also informed Billboard that Coachella could return at 60% attendance capacity by next April, although there’s been no official decision made just yet.
The major pop music festival was pushed back to October upon the arrival of COVID-19 back in March. Its postponed dates of October 9th–11th and October 16th-18th don’t appear likely after AEG announced massive staff cuts earlier this week as 45,000 full-time employees were reportedly furloughed or laid off and another 300,000—400,000 part-time and freelance employees were also let go.
“It is clear now that live events with fans will not resume for many months and likely not until sometime in 2021,” AEG CEO Dan Beckerman wrote to employees in a memo. “When we are able to reopen, it will take time until we see our fans, partners and sponsors fully return. This means that our revenues will continue to be significantly impacted for an extended period.”
Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 1:30 p.m. ET
Lollapalooza has officially postponed this year’s event in Chicago’s Grant Park to 2021. The festival, originally slated for July 30th—August 2nd, was one of the last remaining hold outs of the summer festivals. The large scale gathering also marks the final megafestival of the summer to be rescheduled, following others such as Coachella and Bonnaroo. Organizers announced that instead of the physical gathering, the weekend originally slated for Lollapalooza will host a digital festival, complete with archival footage from past events as well as new footage from concerts around Chicago and beyond.
Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 10 a.m. ET
A survey of over 500 epidemiologists appearing in The New York Times shows that 64 percent of respondents would be comfortable going to a sporting event, concert, or play in a year or more. This survey comes several months after The New York Times Magazine published a roundtable discussion with bioethicists discussing a time table for public gatherings. In that roundtable, bioethicist Zeke Emmanuel was quoted as saying that concerts would likely not return until fall 2021 at the earliest. This new survey shows that the clock counting down to the return of concerts is moving in the right direction as the economy slowly reopens across the country.
Monday, June 8, 2020, 5 p.m. ET
Even as venues across the country and around the globe remain closed, the industry as a whole has begun taking important steps. While brick and mortar venues still won’t be open for some time, there are some musical entrepreneurs looking to provide immediate solutions.
Today, organizers of the Shangri-La area at the U.K.’s Glastonbury announced the launch of the virtual reality festival Lost Horizon. As opposed to previous “virtual festivals” like Live From Out There or Quarantine Comes Alive, Lost Horizon will be a fully immersive experience accessible through virtual reality headsets like HTC Vive, Valve, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest. In addition to emerging technology, the festival has also drawn such headliners as Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Skream, and more for the festival, taking place July 3rd—4th.
That wasn’t all that happened on the digital front, as Trey Anastasio Band saxophonist James Casey launched Aux Chord: A Live Streaming Venue. This new “digital venue” promises to bring an added emphasis on video and audio quality not currently available to artists using Facebook Live or YouTube. Also announced today was a pair of Umhprey’s McGee live streams dubbed “Live In The Boondocks“. These streams will feature all six band members playing together, live, at Boondock Studios. This marks the first group of UM’s strata to reconvene for an honest-to-goodness live stream.
Lastly, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit announced a preliminary list of rescheduled tour dates for 2021. This list of 20 North American tour dates pales in comparison to the mammoth international tour that the Americana outfit announced in February, however it marks a light at the end of the tunnel. With this announcement, a band as prominent as Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit have given fans their best guess at when we will all be reunited.
Friday, June 5, 2020, 3 p.m. ET
Aerosmith was hoping to celebrate their 50th anniversary this year with a run of international concerts scheduled from May 29th-July 15th, but an announcement shared by the rock band on Friday morning confirms almost all shows as part of their 2020 European tour have been postponed to 2021.
A statement shared to the band’s social media pages on Friday morning reads,
Aerosmith is and always will be a band for the fans, of the fans and by the fans. It is for this reason that we have made the decision to reschedule our European Tour to Summer 2021, in an effort to keep the focus on the health and well-being of everyone during this unprecedented time. Please hold on to your tickets as they will be honored for the new dates listed below. If you are a ticket holder, your point of purchase will be in contact directly with further details.
Friday, June 5, 2020, 10 a.m. ET
TOOL has canceled all of their 2020 tour dates and the hard rock band has confirmed they have no plans to try and reschedule them for the rest of this year or even into 2021. An announcement shared to the band’s Facebook on Thursday reveals that while they’ve attempted to determine whether pushing their spring and summer 2020 dates back to the upcoming fall months is possible due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, it just doesn’t seem worth the effort with so much up in the air heading into June.
A statement shared to TOOL’s social media page on Thursday reads,
When we played what would be our final show of 2020, March 11 at Portland’s Moda Center, we believed we would be back on the road sometime this Fall. As we worked towards that goal we’ve come to realize that there is absolutely no certainty in re-scheduling dates for this Fall or 2021. State and local ordinances vary widely and no one can predict when high capacity events will safely return.
At the same time that we were working to reschedule this tour, we read your messages. Messages of job losses, illness, emotional and financial pain. We could continue to postpone or reschedule dates for some time into 2021 but ethically, we do not think this is the right course of action. In our opinion, tying up our fans’ money for months, if not a full year, is unfair. With that in mind, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the tour so we can help support the people who have supported us for years.
The 30 total dates which have been outright canceled include the shows which were supposed to have taken place in North America throughout the spring dating back to March 12th in Eugene, OR, and up through June 23rd in San Francisco.
Thursday, June 4, 2020, 12 p.m. ET
On Thursday, organizers for Summerfest Milwaukee announced the cancellation of the 2020 event. Milwaukee, WI’s annual summertime festival was originally scheduled for late June/early July but was postponed to early September at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak back in March.
A statement from Milwaukee World Festival Inc. President & CEO Don Smiley shared with Thursday’s announcement reads,
After careful, diligent, and thoughtful consideration and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our community – including artists, fans, vendors, participants and staff – Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance will not take place in September 2020, as previously announced. It is our honor to be responsible for such a storied tradition. With five decades of festivals, countless legendary performances and millions of memories, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. explored numerous options to ensure the Summerfest tradition could continue in 2020, in a safe and healthy manner.
Yet, given the information available today, and the uncertainty surrounding very large gatherings, we cannot in good conscience proceed with the festival this year. The immediate future presents multiple levels of risk for our fans, and we choose the side of safety.
Refunds on Summerfest 2020 tickets purchased directly through the event website or Ticketmaster are now available. Information regarding how to get a refund on festival admission tickets, as well as information regarding concert tickets for the American Family Insurance Amphitheater or the BMO Harris Pavilion can be found at Summerfest.com.
Thursday, June 4, 2020, 10 a.m. ET
With nearly all major music festivals and concert tours originally planned for summer 2020 either canceled or postponed heading into June, events like the smaller, regional-based Summer Jam Camp Out is still set to go on at the Thomas Point Beach & Campground in Brunswick, ME on July 3rd–5th. The multi-day music event will feature performances from Kung Fu in addition to Higher Education, Swimmer, Peak, Skull & Roses, Rebel Alliance, Leon Trout, Immortal Jellyfish, and more. The event is also set to feature a full disc golf tournament on the campgrounds’ 9 hole course.
A statement shared by festival organizers on May 26th reads,
Summer Jam Camp Out 2020 is moving forward. We take the safety of our staff, patrons, & volunteers very seriously. There are limited number of tickets available for this event. We will be spreading people out on the 80+ acre campground. We will be following any and all guidelines set forth by the state and beyond! We are taking extra measures and making plans to insure your safety. We have had some bands cancel due to the Corona virus and we respect that choice. We have signed equal bands as replacements,we also added more TBA. The show will go on! We will be announcing a few slight line up changes within the next couple of days if not sooner..! Thank you for your patience!
This update comes as the state’s latest Executive Order only eases the restrictions on certain gatherings from 10 to 50 people.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
As socially-distanced concerts begin taking place with mixed reactions in states like Arkansas, Florida now looks to be one of the latest U.S. states to begin welcoming fans and paying customers back into places of public business in hopes of restarting local economies.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has given businesses including bars, movie theaters, concert venues in 64 counties the green light to reopen this Friday (June 5th) as part of the state’s “Phase 2” of the reopening process. The Executive Order, however, does not apply to Florida’s three hardest-hit counties which include Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. Concert venues, along with movie theaters and bowling alleys, will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity and must also abide by social distancing restrictions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise businesses and the public to avoid being part of groups larger than 50.
“The virus isn’t gone,” DeSantis mentioned with Wednesday’s announcement. “I think it’s really really important to continue to stress for people 65 or older … and/or with underlying medical conditions, [that they] are strongly encouraged to avoid crowds and to take measures to limit the risk of exposure.”
Monday, June 1, 2020, 3:30 p.m. ET
Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Poison, and Joan Jett have postponed The Stadium Tour, which was originally set to take place in venues across the United States beginning on June 18th at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL. In a joint statement posted to Mötley Crüe’s social media pages, the bands explained that the stadium tour will be moved to the summer of 2021.
“We wanted to continue to communicate with our fans and update you with valid information as it becomes available. The official decision has been made to move all 2020 North American Stadium Tour dates into the summer of 2021,” the statement read.
While new dates have yet to be made available, the statement promises that more information will follow. Furthermore, all tickets will be honored for the postponed shows and refund information “will be made available shortly.”
Read the full statement below and head to Mötley Crüe’s website for more information.
— Mötley Crüe (@MotleyCrue) June 1, 2020
Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 1:00 p.m. ET
Organizers at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA have canceled the entire season’s worth of performances for the first time in 90 years as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its hold on the live events industry heading into the summer months and beyond.
Announced on Tuesday, The Greek Theatre’s cancellation of its entire 2020 season aligns with State, County, and City mass gathering guidelines for COVID-19 prevention. The announcement comes just weeks after the nearby Hollywood Bowl canceled its own 2020 season for the first time in 98 years.
Fans should note that while the 2020 season will not take place as planned, not all of the scheduled concerts have been outright canceled, as some have been postponed and rescheduled with new confirmed dates.
Head to the official venue website for more info on the 2020 season’s cancelation.
Monday, May 25, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET
As cities around the country gradually start to reopen, small, socially distant live performances are beginning to pick back up. Of note, Nashville, TN—the music city—has entered phase two of its reopening plan, which allows for certain live performances to resume with social distancing measures in place.
According to the “Restaurants & Bars Serving Food” section official reopening roadmap for the city of Nashville, phase two stipulates that “Live entertainment [is] allowed with proper social distancing—no more than 2 performers at one time, dance floors remain closed.” While it opens the possibility for live shows, phase two of Nashville’s reopening roadmap stipulates that bar areas in the newly reopened performance spaces must remain closed. Venues also are required to open and 75% capacity (up from 50% capacity during phase one) and clean all surfaces after every use, while all employees must wear masks and be screened daily for coronavirus symptoms.
Of note, the plan separates “Restaurants & Bars Serving Food” and “Socially-Driven Businesses” (like bars, clubs, karaoke bars, tours, and “live entertainment”) into separate categories. While phase two allows for live performances to begin under the aforementioned circumstances at “Restaurants & Bars Serving Food”, “Socially-Driven Businesses” will remain closed during phase two.
Assuming the city can continue to maintain “positive improvement” or stability in the deciding metrics for the next 14 days, phase three will begin on Monday, June 8th. Phase three will allow “Restaurants & Bars Serving Food” to reopen at full capacity with bar areas open at 50% capacity, while “Socially-Driven Businesses” will be allowed to re-open at 50% capacity. The plan notes, however, that if metrics indicate a negative trend over the next two weeks, the city will return to phase two. For more information, head here.
Monday, May 25, 2020, 10:30 a.m. ET
Spafford played in front of a live audience during a performance at Mesa, AZ’s Digital Drive-In on Sunday night. Not a live stream from home or a video of all the members spliced together, but an honest-to-goodness live, ticketed performance with an audience. That audience may have been confined to their cars and the areas immediately surrounding said cars, but this performance marks the first baby steps toward normalcy for the music industry.
While Spafford is certainly not the first act to think of this idea, as DJ Marc Rebillet announced an entire drive-in tour earlier this month, they have shown that the idea is viable both economically and medically. Even as traditional concerts and festivals are canceled through the summer, Spafford and other like-minded acts are showing that there is a path forward. It may be the path less traveled, but it will get us there nonetheless.
Monday, May 25, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET
In a new feature, The New York Times spoke to the movers and shakers in every corner of the live event industry about the potential fate of events in late 2020. While people had different things to say about the topic, the theme was the same across the board and fell in line with what we’ve been finding over the last few weeks in our Cancellation Tracker: Most of them are now looking past 2020 and into next year.
The article, “The Fall of Autumn: Live Performance Producers Are Giving Up on 2020,” checks in with everyone from orchestra producers to theater impresarios to independent venues to executives from promotion giants like Live Nation and AEG.
Explained Henry Timms, president of New York’s iconic Lincoln Center, “It’s very hard right now to see a path to anything which looks like the traditional fall season. Absent some material change, from a medical perspective, in the world at large.”
This generally-accepted notion marks a start change from the beginning of the lockdowns, when a slew of spring and early summer festivals pushed their dates to later in the year. Paul Tollett, the promoter for large-scale events like Coachella, one of the first major 2020 festivals to postpone until the fall, declined to comment for the NYT piece.
Some of the entities reached for comment in the piece provided some insight into what they may do in place of “regular” live shows. “It’s going to be organizations with 50 seats or 25 seats that will be innovating,” said Molly Smith, the artistic director of Arena Stage in Washington. “That’s how we’re going to learn.”
The piece continued, “As venues do open, expect fewer intermissions, digital-only ticketing, and more rules about entering and exiting. ‘The airline industry has become adept at loading people by zones,’ said Hillary J. Hart, executive director of Houston’s Theater Under the Stars. “Could you do that in a theater?”
While some organizations are experimenting with reduced-capacity, socially distant events, others see them as an impossibility for reasons both economic to philosophical. “An audience that is scattered that much isn’t an audience, it’s disassociated observers,” said Michael Ritchie, artistic director at the Center Theater Group.
In the end, the “when” aspect of the return to relative normalcy in the world of live events may depend greatly on public opinion—when will audiences feel comfortable with going to shows once again? The Times noted that there are multiple ongoing social studies into the conditions under which fans would willing to return, and initial reports have found “considerable wariness.”
Appropriately, the feature ends on an ambiguous note. The short of all this: Nobody knows. “With all that uncertainty, large organizations are drafting plans for a variety of scenarios, even as most of them are now focusing on resumption early next year,” the piece notes. “More optimistic: mount a show by Thanksgiving to capture at least some holiday revenue. More pessimistic: cancel the entire season and start fresh next summer.”
“There’s a balancing act,” said Christopher Ashley, the artistic director at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse, “between trying to stay hopeful and being realistic.” Read the full New York Times feature here.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET
As the usual “summer tour season” gets closer and closer, large-scale engagements continue to set their sights on 2021 rather than trying to navigate the minefield that is 2020. Wednesday brought official tour cancellations/postponements from Tedeschi Trucks Band, Deftones, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, and Barenaked Ladies, to name a few.
With no end to the concert shutdown in sight, many festivals are beginning to launch virtual events instead. Wednesday brought the announcement of Quarantine Comes Alive, modeled after events like Denver Comes Alive and Brooklyn Comes Alive (which was set to take place in late March before COVID-19 forced its postponement until 2021). The full-day virtual music marathon will predominantly feature new “live” performances captured during the ongoing lockdown by 60+ artists. Proceeds from Quarantine Comes Alive will be split between the participating artists and the comprehensive PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund. For more information about Quarantine Comes Alive, head here.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
Here’s something we haven’t reported in a while: An actual concert at an actual theater with an actual audience took place last night, Monday, May 18th. As previously reported in this piece, Travis McCready performed a show for a significantly-reduced audience at Arkansas theater, TempleLive. Initially scheduled to take place on May 15th—prior to the start of the state’s reopening process for indoor concert venues—TempleLive was hit with a cease and desist order over the highly-publicized first ticketed indoor show since the lockdown began. TempleLive and McCready were able to move their show to May 18th, the day venues were allowed to begin reopening, and the show went ahead as planned with social distancing protocols in place. Check out some photos of the socially distant show here.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
One of the highest-profile tours of the now-decimated summer 2020 concert season has finally thrown in the towel. The HELLA MEGA stadium tour featuring Weezer, Green Day, and Fall Out Boy has been postponed until 2021. New dates have yet to be announced, though the bands noted that the 2021 dates will take place at the same venues initially scheduled for 2021. For more details, head here.
Monday, May 18, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
As venues both large and small sit empty, their operators are getting increasingly creative in order to drive business to the spaces in one way or another.
Major League ballparks have started rolling out different kinds of socially distant programming as both games and regular concerts continue to be ruled out. Last week, a drive-in Concert In Your Car series at the Texas Rangers‘ Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX was announced. A similar drive-in-style series is reportedly in the works at New York’s Yankee Stadium. Up in Boston, the Red Sox‘s Fenway Park will host an upcoming performance by Dropkick Murphys (with help from Bruce Springsteen) which will air via live stream, making it the first time a band has ever played a full show in an empty sports stadium.
Smaller venues are looking outside the normal concert sphere to stay afloat. The Pabst Theater Group, the company that owns Milwaukee, WI venues like The Riverside Theater, The Pabst Theater, and Turner Hall Ballroom, is now offering “Elopement” packages to couples whose weddings have been affected by the pandemic, offering a better-than-your-front-porch alternative for small (no more than ten people) wedding parties. For more information, head here.
Friday, May 15, 2020, 2:30 p.m. ET
Resonance Music & Arts Festival has been postponed to 2021. The gathering was set for September 17th—20th at Cooper’s Lake in Slippery Rock, PA, making it one of the furthest festivals to be canceled. Considering how many other festivals have rescheduled for August/September, the Resonance postponement could prove those movements futile.
In a lengthy post to the event’s Facebook page, organizers laid out an incentive for fans to hang onto their tickets. Earlier this year, the festival offered a Buy One Get One free promotion for a limited time. Not only will both of those tickets be valid for next year, but any ticketholder who missed out on that sale and decides he/she wants to hold onto said ticket for 2021 will receive a free ticket in honor of his/her commitment.
Additionally, a form to request a refund will be made available on Sunday, May 17th. Visit Resonance’s Facebook page for more information and to see the full post.
Thursday, May 14, 2020, 7:00 p.m. ET
With most of the regular touring and concert industry now officially canceled for the foreseeable future, we’re seeing bands start to adapt their models in order to play live shows. From crowdless, concept “tours” by bands like Twiddle and SunSquabi to Pigeons Playing Ping Pong‘s multi-set Homefest to Goose‘s virtual Bingo Tour to Spafford‘s late-May drive-in show, bands are starting to find new ways to perform for their fans now, even while regular mass gatherings remain out of the question.
Thursday, May 14, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET
Just hours after reports began to circulate informing Los Angeles residents that the city’s stay-at-home orders are fully expected to be extended for the next three months into the summer, organizers at the Hollywood Bowl in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles announced the cancellation of all upcoming LA Phil-presented concerts for the entire 2020 season. The landmark move marks the first time in 98 years that the popular outdoor amphitheater has canceled an entire season.
The venue is operated by non-profit Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn, which has cited “A lack of resolution on the coronavirus crisis” as the reason for the full-season cancellation. The organization will also furlough 25% of its full-time non-union workforce, all members of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (through Sept. 30, 2020), and will let go of all Hollywood Bowl’s seasonal employees. Fans should click here to learn more about the 2020 cancelation, and how to donate money to assist the employees of the non-profit organization during the lack of seasonal income.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET
Cancellations continued today as Bob Dylan called off his 2020 tour. Despite continued tour cancellations, inventive solutions to the ongoing mass gathering issue continue to pop up. The drive-in-style Concert From Your Car series is now set to take place at the Texas Rangers‘ Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX in June and smaller venues in the South like Charleston Pour House are beginning to open for smaller shows with strict distancing guidelines in place.
While artists and promoters continue to pivot to make unusual live events happen, however, not all of their efforts are turning out successfully. On Tuesday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that the state Department of Health will issue a cease and desist order to stop Fort Smith theater TempleLive from going through with their highly-publicized, socially-distanced Travis McCready show this Friday.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
Organizers for Colorado’s Beanstalk Music Festival has made an interesting move with regard to their scheduled June event. Rather than canceling the festival due to the ongoing pandemic, Beanstalk will now take place on the same weekend as a drive-in-style event at Fort Collins, CO’s Holiday Twin Drive-In Theater. Beanstalk: At The Drive-In will adhere to state social distancing guidelines in an effort to provide fans with the live music experience they crave while keeping their health and safety in mind. For more information on the re-tooled Beanstalk: At The Drive-In festival, head here.
While the June dates of the event keep it in line with the overall cancellation threshold, this is the first time we’ve seen an event pivot to the increasingly popular drive-in model rather than canceling or postponing. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. If it’s a success, you can look for more events to explore this route.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
moe. has announced the cancellation of its 2020 summer tour. A post from the band on social media notes that the tour will be moved to 2021,
“We are saddened to announce, due to the ongoing pandemic, our 2020 summer tour has been rescheduled to the summer of 2021. This decision is made with the health, safety, and well-being of our famoe.ly as the top priority. Previously purchased tickets will be honored for these rescheduled dates. Please contact the initial point of purchase for specific information about refunds.”
This comes just one day after the postponement of The Peach Music Festival, where moe. was due to perform. In addition to Peach, eight other shows scheduled this summer have been moved to 2021. See the band’s post for a full list of dates.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET
The Black Keys have officially canceled their 2020 summer tour. As the announcement from the band notes,
“We are very disappointed to let you know the US ‘Let’s Rock’ Summer tour is no longer happening. We were looking forward to seeing you all out there, but the health and safety of our fans and crew has to take priority. We hope to see you all soon. Please stay safe.”
The 35-date tour was set to run from early July through early September and feature support on select dates from Gary Clark Jr., The Marcus King Band, Yola, and more. Information regarding refunds will be emailed to ticketholders directly.
Monday, May 11, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET
Barcelona, Spain’s annual Primavera Sound festival has been officially postponed to 2021. The 20th-anniversary event, originally set to take place in early June, was initially postponed to August 26th–30th, 2021.
While the initial late-March postponement of the event seemed to indicate that organizers were betting on a better outlook come late-summer, this second postponement reflects how much the pandemic picture has evolved in just over a month. At this point, most major festivals and tours are looking past 2020 and setting hopeful sights on 2021. We wouldn’t be surprised if other early-2020 festivals initially rescheduled to later this year start to follow suit. Read Primavera Sound’s official announcement here.
Monday, May 11, 2020, 9:30 a.m. ET
The Peach Music Festival, originally scheduled to take place on July 4th weekend at Scranton, PA’s Montage Mountain, has been officially rescheduled to Independence Day Weekend 2021. The announcement from organizers notes that the festival’s headliners—Oysterhead, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, and The String Cheese Incident—will be on the 2021 lineup. The statement also notes that the 2021 event will feature “a very similar lineup to this year with some tasty additions, special sets & surprises mixed in.”
This postponement falls in line with the current threshold of cancellations, as The Peach was one of the last summer festivals to have not changed its date or canceled its event in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
The delay in rescheduling, however, likely had something to do with getting ducks in a row for a special 2021 announcement to help ease the sting of no Peach in 2020: Ticket-buyers who hold on to their 2020 passes for 2021 will be invited to a special additional day on music on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021, the day before the festival starts in earnest on July 1st.
The Disco Biscuits’ Camp Bisco, another Live Nation festival originally set to take place at Montage Mountain the weekend after The Peach, announced a similar 2020–2021 postponement plan on Monday. The 2021 edition of Camp Bisco, now scheduled for July 8th–10th, 2021, will also feature a special Wednesday pre-party on July 7th, 2021 for 2020 ticketholders who hold onto their passes for next year.
While festival cancellations and one-year deferments are nothing new in 2020, this added musical incentive for fans to hold on to their tickets is something we haven’t seen until now. It seems like an effective strategy to keep money in the festival accounts and help prepare for next year, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we see more festivals employ this approach as we move forward.
Friday, May 8, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
The 2020 edition of Snowshoe, WV’s 4848 Festival, originally scheduled to take place from July 9th–11th, 2020 has been postponed until July 8th–10th, 2021. The 2020 edition of the festival was set to feature Greensky Bluegrass, Grace Potter, Billy Strings, and more. For information on refunds, head here.
This postponement falls in line with many of the festival announcements we’ve seen in the last week or two. Virtually all large-scale events in the month of July have already been postponed or canceled, but while many of the festivals that made the call on the earlier side chose to reschedule to later in 2020, we’re now seeing most look past this year altogether.
Thursday, May 7, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
David Crosby has announced the postponement of his spring/summer run of shows with The Sky Trails Band, which was scheduled to begin on May 14th and continue until June 21st.
A statement shared to Crosby’s website on Wednesday afternoon reads, “It is with great regret that we have to postpone our upcoming tour due to the effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The safety and wellbeing of the fans is our paramount concern and with his in mind, we had to take this decision. We are already in the process of rescheduling all these shows and we should have news re this very soon.”
Tickets purchased for the now-postponed spring performances will be honored at the rescheduled dates, which will be confirmed and announced in the coming weeks.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
Organizers at Suwannee Hulaween remain optimistic that the 2020 edition of the annual music event will indeed take place at the Spirit of Suwannee Park in Live Oak, FL this fall on October 29th-November 1st.
A statement shared by Hulaween organizers on Wednesday reads, “We are following the COVID-19 epidemic with you as it unfolds. We continually gather input from federal, state, and Suwannee county health authorities … There are too many unknown variables to place tickets on sale for Hulaween at this time. That said, we have reserved October 29-November1, 2020, at our home, The Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park. We will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available.”
Hulaween isn’t alone in their optimistic views of what lies ahead for the live music industry. Organizers for events including Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Summer Camp Music Festival are also hoping that the severity of the pandemic will lessen over summer as they’ve also pushed their own 2020 festivals back to the coming fall months. The 2020 edition of Suwannee Rising, also scheduled to take place at Spirit of the Suwannee Park back on April 16th–18th, was officially canceled back in March.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
The 2020 edition of Pitchfork Music Festival, originally set to take place in Chicago in mid-July, has been canceled. The festival’s 15th-anniversary event was set to feature performances by Run The Jewels, The National, Thundercat, and more.
According to the cancellation announcement, ticketholders will receive emails with refund options. The statement also notes that organizers will continue to plan the 2021 edition of Pitchfork Music Festival “if the public health situation allows it.”
At this point, the cancellation of a festival scheduled for this summer is unsurprising, but it’s worth noting that this is one of the first cases in which a festival expressed doubts about next year, as well. As 2020 goes on, it’s likely that events in 2021 will eventually be assessed with the same caution as events in 2020.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
As states begin to loosen lockdown restrictions, we’re seeing artists, promoters, and venues scramble to meet social distancing guidelines and still host live shows.
The Governor of Missouri recently gave the OK for live music events to move forward so long as they abide by social distancing regulations. In Arkansas, Fort Smith theater TempleLive has made significant updates to the venue to allow them to schedule a socially-distanced Travis McCready show on May 15th with drastically limited capacity and other restrictions in place. For more information, head here.
There’s also the growing “drive-in show” concept, modeled after drive-in movies in observance of social distancing. These drive-in shows have already gone on successfully in various European cities, and American acts (like Marc Rebillet) are already following suit.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 12:15 p.m. ET
Resonance Music & Arts Festival made a post on social media today acknowledging Pennsylvania’s indefinite closure of statewide campgrounds. Accordingly, the festival’s new home at Cooper’s Lake in Slippery Rock, PA has postponed all of its events throughout summer 2020.
The event’s organizers stated that the exact timetable on these closures is still unknown, and that they are working with officials to find the best, and safest, solution possible. The festival is not canceled outright, but its status is becoming more questionable. Currently slated for September 17th—20th, it would be among the latest U.S. festivals to be canceled for 2020. Given that it ends just two days before the fall equinox, many festivalgoers looked to it as the safety net after a canceled summer. It appears that this may not be the case and, if Resonance is ultimately canceled, would mark a major movement of the metaphorical line in the sand for mass gatherings.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 9:30 a.m. ET
The 2020 edition of Canadian Music Week in Toronto, Ontario has been canceled. Canada’s largest music conference and festival was initially scheduled to take place from May 20th–22nd. When the pandemic hit in March, the event was rescheduled for September 9th–11th. Now, organizers are abandoning the rescheduled date and looking toward next year instead.
This is likely something we’ll see a lot of in the coming weeks. At the beginning of this crisis, events in March/April/May looked toward later in the year, rescheduling events for the fall in hopes that the situation would have played out by then. Now, more and more, we’re seeing artists and promoters abandon plans for 2020 entirely as we’re seemingly no closer to the light at the end of the tunnel now than we were when this all started. What a difference a few weeks can make…
Monday, May 4, 2020, 4:15 p.m. ET
Marc Rebillet has announced the Drive-In Concert Tour, which is scheduled to take place this summer, throughout June and July.
Presented by HOTBOX, the tour will kick off in Charlotte, NC on June 11th before heading to Kansas City, KS (6/18); Tulsa, OK (6/20); Fort Worth, TX (6/25, 6/26); and Houston, TX (7/2, 7/3), with additional dates to be announced. Rebillet ensured that he and his team worked hard to plan the tour with the safety and well-being of concert-goers in mind. All patrons will be expected to follow strict social distancing guidelines.
As concerts continue to be on hold, several countries have looked to drive-in movie theaters as an alternate live event model. Just last week, musicians in Denmark and Lithuania performed at drive-in theaters with great success. The idea has sparked optimism in live events promoters and musicians alike. Live Nation President/CEO Michael Rapino has even tweeted about the idea several times, and this Rebillet announcement seems like it could be the first of many to come in 2020.
Monday, May 4, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
Dave Matthews Band has announced the rescheduling of its summer tour. The three-month run of shows in arenas and amphitheaters across the United States and Canada will now take place in 2021.
The band assured fans that every date will be rescheduled for the same time period next year, along with some new ones. The band added 10 new stops to the tour in Ontario, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado in an effort to help make it up to fans. Now, Dave Matthews Band’s summer tour will stretch from June to October 2021.
Additionally, Journey has also been forced to cancel its summer tour alongside The Pretenders. The statement from the band’s management comes as more and more large, outdoor summer tours are forced to cancel. The band made no reference to rescheduled dates, and is immediately directing fans to contact Live Nation for refunds.
Monday, May 4, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
After initially moving their Hotel California Tour to the fall of 2020, the Eagles have rescheduled the string of dates for September and October 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The tour will see Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Deacon Frey, and Vince Gill kick things off at Denver, CO’s Pepsi Center on September 16th, 2021, playing the entire Hotel California album in full, among other hits. After another show at the Pepsi Center (9/18), and a single show in Dallas, TX (9/21), the Eagles will head to Phoenix, AZ (9/24, 9/25); St. Paul, MN (10/1, 10/2); Los Angeles, CA (10/15, 10/16, 10/19); and San Fransisco, CA (10/22, 10/23).
“Fans with tickets to the previously announced 2020 dates are encouraged to hold on to their tickets as they will be honored for the new dates,” said a post to the band’s Facebook. “If you are unable to attend the new date, you will be able to request a refund” at the Eagles’ website.
This announcement marks the first large-scale tour to reschedule previously postponed dates until 2021. While the possibility of live events occurring in 2020 remains, it seems as though all larger concerts will start to move to 2021.
Sunday, May 3, 2020, 1:20 p.m. ET
Primus has announced the postponement of their planned A Tribute to Kings Tour, which would have seen the veteran rock band pay tribute to RUSH with a run of shows throughout the summer beginning on May 26th in Irving, TX.
A statement shared to the band’s Facebook page on Friday reads,
The upcoming “Primus: A Tribute To Kings” tour is being rescheduled. Primus has been looking forward to celebrating this legendary Rush album, but want to ensure everyone’s health and safety is not at risk. New dates are being worked on at this time and information will become available the moment it’s able to be shared. Hang onto your tickets as they will be valid for the new dates. A majority of the shows will offer refunds when the new dates are announced or after 60 days if it takes extra time to find new dates. Please reach out to your original point of purchase with questions regarding refund policies and any other ticket inquiries. Thank you for your understanding and support during this unprecedented time.
The lengthy summer tour would have seen the band perform the music featured on A Farewell to Kings–the first Rush album bassist/singer Les Claypool ever heard–in addition to original material out of the Primus songbook. The tour’s name and overall mission also make for a fitting tribute to late Rush drummer Neil Peart, who died unexpectedly earlier this year.
The tour’s postponement should come as no surprise, as earlier this year Claypool’s other band, Oysterhead, canceled their planned 2020 performances in Chicago, IL and Stanford, CA.
Saturday, May 2, 2020, 12:45 p.m. ET
Rage Against The Machine has rescheduled its reunion tour with rap supergroup Run The Jewels. The tour, which was originally scheduled to take place throughout the spring and summer of 2020, has now been moved to 2021.
The band explained in a post to the band’s Facebook,
Rage Against The Machine will commence our tour at such a time when we are confident it will be safe for our fans. The rerouted dates (health and safety permitting) are at RATM.com and your tickets will be honored for the postponed shows. During this difficult time we also respect the fans who want their ticket money back. We’ve requested and confirmed that, as of this weekend, anyone who wants a refund can begin the process at your point of purchase. We sincerely hope that each one of you and your families and friends stay safe and well and that music is bringing you solace and inspiration. We look forward to seeing you.
RATM’s 2021 tour dates will now kick off on June 3rd at Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX before the band makes its way through New Mexico, Arizona California, Oregon, and Washington. After a few dates north of the border, Rage will then head across the Midwest before going back to Canada, and then the East Coast. The band will then play five shows in six nights at Madison Square Garden in New York City (8/6-8/12) before closing the tour with shows in Washington D.C., North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
The band’s festival appearances remain in question, however. While Rage has announced they will remain on the Coachella lineup, whether or not that festival takes place as scheduled in October remains to be seen. Ottawa Bluesfest has confirmed that RATM will appear on the 2021 lineup, though no word has come down from Boston Calling or Firefly Music Festival.
Friday, May 1, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
A growing number of large-scale tours are throwing in the towel on 2020 and looking toward next year. On Friday, Phish announced that their full 2020 summer tour has been rescheduled to take place in the summer of 2021. For a full list of updated dates, check here.
Friday, May 1, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
Organizers for Jam Cruise have announced that their planned voyage in early 2021, the 19th edition of the event, has been postponed until 2022. The lineup for the 2021 edition of the festival at sea had yet to be announced, but as usual, many patrons had already pre-booked their trips for next year. Jam Cruise is offering pre-bookers the option to apply for a refund or roll their booking over to 2022. For more information, head here.
This is a relatively significant development to the ever-moving concert cancellation threshold. While an event on a cruise ship is undoubtedly extra risky right now and the cancellation is likely prudent given the circumstances, this also marks one of the first instances of coronavirus concert cancellations pushing into 2021.
Other Cloud 9 events like Widespread Panic‘s Panic En La Playa and Greensky Bluegrass & Yonder Mountain String Band‘s Strings & Sol have also been preemptively canceled for 2021.
Thursday, April 30, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
Bob Weir and Wolf Bros have canceled all tour dates for the remainder of 2020. In a statement posted to Weir’s social media pages, the band cited “The health, well-being and safety of everyone in our live music community” as their top priority and the impetus behind the cancellation.” Weir, Don Was, and Jay Lane went on to thank fans for their continued support and understanding, assuring everyone that they cannot wait to get back out on the road.
The statement also clarified refund options, saying: “Fans who purchased tickets for our upcoming shows directly from the official box office will automatically receive a full refund within 30 days. For further ticket information, contact your point of purchase.”
The move by Bob Weir and Wolf Bros signals an industry trend towards canceling all events in 2020. While some have remained hopeful for a return in 2020, with some even rescheduling performances to this summer, each passing day pushes that line further away.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
Widespread Panic has canceled their long-running annual Red Rocks run for 2020. As the band notes in their cancellation announcement, “We feel that June is too soon for such a large gathering and no other dates are available at the venue this year. We look forward to continuing the Red Rocks tradition with you, safely, next year.” This is fully in line with the rest of the industry, as most (if not all) events in June have already. been canceled.
The “no dates available until next year” part is telling, as well. Over the last week, a slew of artists have canceled upcoming shows at Red Rocks or pushed them to new dates in 2021. This seems to indicate that Red Rocks may not open for its usual spring/summer concert season at all this year.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
Organizers have canceled the 2020 editions of both Newport Folk Festival (July 30th–August 2nd) and Newport Jazz Festival (August 7th–9th). As the cancellation announcement notes, “Together with our local leaders and Governor Gina Raimondo, we have concluded that at this time we risk too much in having a gathering of our size.” You can read the full statement from organizers here.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
Various large-scale festivals have announced updated refund policies for scheduled 2020 events. Bonnaroo, which was postponed from early-June to late-September last month, will now offer refunds for a 30-day period beginning on Friday, May 1st. “
Thank you Bonnaroovians for your patience as we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times together,” organizers mentioned in a statement. “If you are unable to attend the rescheduled dates, we are now offering the opportunity to request a full refund. Refunds may be requested beginning May 1, 2020 starting at 9 am ET … Requests must be received by May 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm ET.” This is in line with the refund system recently laid out by Bonnaroo’s promoter, Live Nation, for all of their various postponed events.
Another Live Nation-produced event, The Peach Music Festival, also gave a brief update to its 2020 ticketholders. The Peach, one of the last remaining early-July events that has not been canceled or postponed, noted in the message that “within the next two weeks, [fans] will receive a comprehensive update on the status of the festival.” While still officially scheduled to take place from July 2nd–5th, The Peach informed fans today that they are indefinitely suspending the scheduled April 30th payment for their ticket layaway program. This seems to indicate that the event will not go forward as planned over Independence Day Weekend, but we won’t know for sure until there’s an official announcement.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 4:30 p.m. ET
Levitate Music Festival, originally scheduled to take place on July 10th, 11th, and 12th of this year in Marshfield, MA, has been postponed until July 9th–11th, 2021. In its postponement announcement, the festival confirmed that all of its headliners have committed to the new 2021 dates, as have “the majority of the supporting artists.”
Tickets purchased for this year’s event will be honored in 2021. Ticketholders can also request a refund by reaching out to the festival directly via email.
The 2020 lineup was set to include Jack Johnson, Phil Lesh & Friends, Tash Sultana, Stick Figure, Umphrey’s McGee, and more.
The postponement of Levitate is in line with most of the other large-scale events originally set to take place in early- to mid-July, as the mid-summer month is looking quieter and quieter each day.
Friday, April 24, 2020, 4:30 p.m. ET
The String Cheese Incident has canceled the first leg of the band’s 2020 Summer Tour. The cancellation impacts SCI’s mid-June dates at Sandy Amphitheater in Sandy, UT (6/17, 6/18), and KettleHouse Amphitheater in Bonner, MT (6/19, 6/20), as well as the early July dates at Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, MA (7/2, 7/3), and Thompson’s Point in Portland, ME (7/4).
SCI’s bassist Keith Moseley made the announcement on the band’s Facebook on Friday, sitting on the front porch of his home. He thanked the fans for their support and wished them good health before delivering the unfortunate news.
Thursday, April 23, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET
High Sierra Music Festival announced that it will forego its 30th-anniversary 2020 event, originally set to take place on July 4th weekend, and set its sights on 2021 instead. The festival has announced a refund request period taking place now through May 3rd. For details on refunds, head here.
Within its announcement, however, High Sierra issued some good news: The festival’s updated initial lineup for 2021 will feature scheduled 2020 headliners like Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Ziggy Marley, The Disco Biscuits, Lettuce, and more in addition to newly added acts like Dr. Dog, Marco Benevento, and more.
Thursday, April 23, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
Umphrey’s McGee has canceled their annual three-night run at Morrison, CO’s Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, originally scheduled to take place on June 19th–21st with support from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Cory Wong, Goose, and more. As the band noted in their cancellation announcement, “Due to the realities of the coronavirus, there is no other safe or viable option.” Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase. This should not come as a surprise, as most large-scale events have already been canceled through the end of June.
Thursday, April 23, 2020, 9:30 a.m. ET
Elton John has postponed the remainder of his North American Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes after John previously postponed his tour from March 26th through May 2nd. This latest batch of postponements will see all shows scheduled through July 8th moved to 2021.
“This tough decision has been made with the continued safety and well-being of his fans at a time when health services are under increased pressure and with the concern that these gatherings continue to risk accelerating the spread of the Coronavirus [COVID-19],” team members for the singer wrote on Twitter. “Ticketholders of all 2020 postponed performances should hold onto their original tickets as new show date information for 2021 will be announced soon. All original tickets will be honored at the rescheduled performances,” the statement continued.
Though this is unwelcomed news for fans of John, it comes as no surprise. Virtually all early summer events across the globe have seen cancellation/postponement over the past few weeks. Even late-summer event cancellations have begun to roll in, seemingly legitimizing a report by The New York Times that we may not see any large gatherings until 2021.
Thursday, April 23, 2020, 9:30 a.m. ET
Insane Clown Posse has announced that the band’s annual festival, Gathering of the Juggalos, has been postponed until 2021. In a Facebook post, ICP announced that the festival, which was set to take place on August 5th-8th at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville, OH, was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This would have marked the first Gathering of the Juggalos at the Ohio venue in 15 years.
“For 20 consecutive years, the Gathering of the Juggalos has been the biggest family reunion on the planet, generating untold levels of freshness for thousands and thousands of attending Juggalos from all walks of life, all around the world,” said the band in a statement. “With tens of thousands of deaths due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we can’t possibly in good conscience even consider trying to put on a Gathering during these difficult times. Aside from the serious health concerns, there are numerous other factors that have destroyed any possibility of the Gathering taking place this year.”
The Gathering marks yet another American-based, August event to cancel its 2020 plans, following the Dead & Company tour cancellation from earlier this week. While spring shows and festivals have rescheduled to later in the summer months, it seems like the line of event viability may be moving further away towards the fall months.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET
As coronavirus lockdowns continue worldwide, Munich, Germany’s Oktoberfest, which takes place annually at the end of September and beginning of October, has been canceled for 2020. The cancellation will be a huge blow to the local economy, as the massive beer and Bavarian culture event annually brings thousands of travelers to the German city and generates more than one billion euros for local businesses each year. The cancellation of Oktoberfest—still many months away—shows that the German government is approaching the ongoing crisis seriously.
Back home in the U.S., however, certain things are starting to open back up. In Georgia, gyms, hair and nail salons, bowling alleys, and other such businesses will be allowed to reopen on Friday (4/24). In Florida, various beaches have reopened to the public, and in South Carolina, various businesses previously deemed “non-essential” are being allowed to restart their operations.
These moves, however, are less encouraging than they may seem on the surface with regard to the overall status of the lockdowns. You can largely chalk these moves up to politics, as various states begin to cave to the pressures of constituencies protesting against the economic shutdown. It will be interesting to see how the spread of the virus will be affected by these reopenings, as each of the aforementioned states is still seeing consistently rising infection and death numbers—even before reopening. If moves like this cause the numbers to spike in those areas, it could mean that the entire timetable continues to get pushed back.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
Electric Forest announced earlier this afternoon that the festival, scheduled for June 25–28th in Rothbury, MI, has been canceled due to health concerns. Instead, the 10th anniversary of the large electronic-leaning festival will take place in June 2021. While this doesn’t come as the largest surprise, Electric Forest’s cancellation decidedly pushes the line in the sand further back in the summer. Given that the festival was scheduled for the last weekend of June, it appears that no large-scale festivals will take place until July at the absolute earliest.
In another crushing blow, Dead & Company announced that their summer tour is canceled. The tour was set to begin on July 10th with a two-night run at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO and end on August 8th at Fenway Park in Boston, MA. It was announced last week, however, that University of Colorado Boulder had canceled all events at Folsom Field through July. While this revelation didn’t necessarily sink the rest of the tour, it put the prospects of any Dead & Company this summer in serious jeopardy.
Now, with Dead & Company tour canceled, it is likely only a matter of time before other large-scale outdoor summer tour cancellations begin to roll in as well.
Monday, April 20, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday that the city has canceled all non-essential events in June. He had previously issued a similar cancellation order for the month of May, noting that the status of June was still under review at that time. This includes a number of large-scale parades in the city like the Pride March, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and the Salute to Israel Parade.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise at this point. New York City has by far the most coronavirus cases of anywhere in the country, and most (if not all) of the large-scale events in the city, like Governors Ball, have already announced their cancellations. What it does show, at least for New York, is that this mess won’t be sorted out any time soon.
Mayor DeBlasio Cancels NYC Events Through June
Friday, April 17, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET
According to a number of health experts reached for comment in a new report from Rolling Stone, concerts in late 2020 are looking less and less like a sure thing.
Explains George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, “I realize tons of people make their living doing this stuff, but I see [concerts] as pretty far down the list [in terms of opening events back up]; we’ve got to get the schools going first. Just because we get through this shelter-in-place doesn’t mean everything’s magically back to normal.”
According to Geoff Gottlieb, interim chair at the University of Washington’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, the event shutdown will likely extend through the Fall. Explains Gottlieb, “Ultimately, public-health jurisdictions will decide when and under what conditions live music will be allowed. I don’t think it’s reasonable at this point to assume that this will be by September, especially for shows that don’t have well-validated mitigation and social-distancing plans in place for their audiences and performers. Mass gatherings, such as large music festivals, will have the potential to seed new waves of infection from the virus and may not be possible until there is an effective vaccine, herd immunity, effective treatments, or other proven public-health measures in place.”
Friday, April 17, 2020, 1:00 p.m. ET
New Orleans’ VooDoo Music + Arts Experience has canceled its 2020 event, originally scheduled to take place from October 30th–November 1st. The festival had not yet announced its artist lineup for 2020. The 2019 edition of the festival included performances by Guns N’ Roses, Post Malone, Beck, Bassnectar, Brandi Carlile, The National, ZHU, Interpol, Young The Giant, Big Gigantic.
This move could be an effort on VooDoo’s part to follow with other major New Orleans festivals like Essence and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in canceling after Mayor Latoya Cantrell‘s recommendation on Tuesday that no large events take place in the Louisiana city until next year. It could also, however, represent a more significant development in the overall cancellation threshold. In addition to being one of the furthest-off festivals to announce its cancellation for 2020, it’s also one of the first to cancel before having announced a lineup. From this, we can gather that large events in the Fall are looking less viable than they were a few weeks back when several major festivals pushed their dates to September and October.
The new cancellations also extend beyond the Big Easy. Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, originally set to take place from July 3rd–18th, also announced that it will take 2020 off. This year will be the first year without a Montreux Jazz Festival in more than 50 years.
It’s not just festivals starting to look toward 2021 either—Taylor Swift just announced that she is canceling all of her remaining 2020 shows and rescheduling them for next year. Details on refunds and rescheduled dates are available here.
Thursday, April 16, 2020, 3 p.m. ET
University of Colorado Boulder has reportedly canceled all events at Folsom Field until July 31st, which would include Dead & Company‘s summer tour opener July 10th–11th. While no official announcement has yet come from the band, it was reported in the Boulder Daily Camera that all sporting events, concerts, commencements, and other mass gatherings at Folsom Field are canceled until August. A spokesperson for the University, however, has said that they are working with the band to provide rescheduled dates. This would mark the first cancellation on Dead & Company’s summer tour, and could spell the beginning of other large scale summer tour postponements.
Thursday, April 16, 2020 1:30 p.m. ET
Organizers for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival have announced the cancellation of 2020’s event due to the ongoing pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. The announcement followed an initial statement that had postponed the festival until the fall.
A statement to the festival’s Facebook page read,
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to evolve unpredictably—and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our community, including musicians, fans, participants, and staff—Jazz Fest 2020 will not occur this fall, as previously announced.
This conclusion is made after much careful deliberation. It takes something truly momentous to interrupt a 50-year New Orleans tradition as special as the Festival, but we feel strongly that the most prudent course right now is to allow more time for the situation to stabilize. We thank everyone for their patience as we have considered all of the matters necessary to making this difficult decision.
That said, work has already begun on the presentation of next year’s Jazz Fest during its traditional springtime period. So save the dates: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell will take place April 22 – May 2, 2021. We hope to see you there.
Until then, be safe!
The statement went on to explain that ticketholders would have the option of transferring their 2020 tickets to next years event or receiving a full refund—details for which would be provided in an email over the following days. For more information regarding the New Orleans Jazz Festival, visit its website, here.
The announcement comes just days after the New Orleans mayor recommended no large events in the city until 2021. While many large-scale events around the country have already set their sights on the Fall, this latest development could indicate that September/October may no longer be looking as viable as they did a few weeks ago.
Thursday, April 16, 2020, 11:45 a.m. ET
California Governor Gavin Newsome said in a press conference this week that large scale gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events, would likely not return to the state until a vaccine has been developed. Newsome stated, “The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine.” This echoes sentiments from bioethicist Zeke Emanuel published in The New York Times Magazine where he predicted that, realistically, large scale gatherings would not return to 2021.
The mayors of New York and Los Angeles also voiced similar opinions in recent press conferences, stating that social distancing mandates cannot be relaxed until a vaccine is developed or herd immunity kicks in. Scientists have noted, however, that a vaccine is likely between 12–18 months away. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has also publicly floated the idea of unilaterally canceling all mass gatherings in the state through 2020. This would include Lollapalooza, currently slated to take place July 30th–August 2nd in Chicago, which has so far made no announcements regarding cancellation or postponement. Governor Newsome’s comments are also highly problematic to Coachella organizers who postponed the event from April to October in hopes of waiting out COVID-19.
Thursday, April 16, 2020, 10:15 a.m. ET
The 2020 edition of Louisville, KY’s Forecastle Festival has been canceled. The event was set to take place from July 17th–19th with a lineup featuring Jack Johnson, Cage The Elephant, The 1975, Tash Sultana, Umphrey’s McGee, Goose, Grace Potter, Jon Bellion, Lil Tecca, Thundercat, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Allen Stone, and many more. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.
This mid-July cancellation keeps pace with many of the summer festivals that have already canceled due to the ongoing health crisis.
Thursday, April 16, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
Widespread Panic on Wednesday postponed their run at Austin, TX’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater, originally scheduled for June 4th–6th, to July 23rd–25th. Tickets for the original dates will be honored at the rescheduled dates. While many larger events in the timeframe of the rescheduled dates have already canceled, theater shows like this may be more likely than larger festivals by the end of July. Rescheduling shows to late-July feels somewhat optimistic given the current climate, but Widespread Panic seems to think there’s a chance.
Down in New Orleans, however, promoters have a less optimistic outlook on the rest of 2020. On Tuesday, Mayor Cantrell recommended “no large events [in the city] such as French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest, even Essence Festival, as it relates to the year 2020… the focus should shift to 2021.” Essence Festival, originally set to take place on the first weekend of July, announced in late March that it was moving “closer to the fall. In the wake of the mayor’s announcement, Essence Festival announced its official cancellation on Wednesday. If the cancellation of Essence is any indication, we can likely expect Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest cancellations in the near future.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 1:15 p.m. ET
After announcing a postponement at the end of March, Hangout Music Festival has released a statement saying that the festival will be pushed to May 21st-23rd 2021 in Gulf Shores, AL.
In a statement posted to the festival’s Facebook, event organizers noted, “After much thought and many spirited discussions, due to the ongoing uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to postpone Hangout until next year.” The statement continued, “Since y’all loved the 2020 lineup so much, we will work really hard to bring as much of it back next year as possible (with some new goodies added of course)… We want to thank you for your hopeful patience over the past few weeks as we verified all options for a possible fall reschedule. But ultimately, we feel like the true essence of Hangout belongs in May as the most epic, carefree, ‘lets kick-off the summer right’ beach party.”
Hangout originally touted a lineup including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Marshmello, and Lana Del Rey. The festival will offer refunds to those who cannot commit to next year’s dates. Details will be sent to ticket holders via email over the coming days.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 12:30 p.m. ET
While the status of live events during 2020 is still very much in question, Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke has taken a proactive approach, moving several postponed dates from the spring-leg of his Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes Tour to the fall.
While Yorke’s solo tour was scheduled around his Coachella appearance this spring, the festival has since moved to October 9th-11th and 16th-18th. Yorke’s updated tour schedule suggests that he will remain on the lineup if, in fact, the festival takes place as scheduled. His new tour dates include performances at The Anthem in Washington, D.C. (9/27); Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY (10/2); Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, NY (10/3-10/4); Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL (10/6); Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, AZ (10/11); Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, CA (10/13); and Mission Ballroom in Denver, CO (10/19).
For tickets and Yorke’s latest tour information, head here.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 9:30 a.m. ET
As the COVID-19 quarantines push deeper into April, we’re starting to see a split in opinions regarding the viability of large events in late 2020. On the one hand, we have the bleaker outlooks: in addition to the bioethicist who predicted no large concerts until Fall 2021 in a recent New York Times Magazine roundtable, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recommended on Tuesday that no large events take place in the Louisiana city until next year. That recommendation throws a glaring wrench into New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival‘s previously announced plans to postpone from April/May to October.
On the other hand, the Tour de France, the prestigious French cycling competition originally scheduled for June 27th–July 19th, has also been postponed—but only until this August. The sports world and the music world are in the same boat these days, as both athletes and musicians remain in isolation with their futures uncertain, and it is likely that the eventual returns of both the sports and live music industries will follow similar trajectories. In this light, the rescheduling of the Tour de France to August is somewhat reassuring.
The overall outlook of the sports world, however, has been less optimistic than the outlook of the Tour de France. In March, the International Olympic Committee postponed the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, originally set to take place from July 24th–August 9th, to an undetermined date in 2021, and American pro sports leagues like the NBA, NHL, and MLB remain on indefinite hiatus.
Monday, April 13, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
Even as concert cancellations push further and further into summer, Newport Folk Festival has continued to announce additions to its lineup. The festival, set to take place July 31st–August 2nd at Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island, announced headliner Andrew Bird on Monday. This comes after several weeks of individual lineup announcements, including Sharon Van Etten, Delta Spirit, The Ballroom Thieves, Watkins Family Hour, and Barrie. In a post to the event’s Facebook page on March 31st, organizers said that they would continue to announce artists despite the uncertain future that lies ahead.
“As eternal optimists,” the post said. “We believe the most helpful thing we can do as a community right now is celebrate and raise awareness for the musicians we’d love to see at the Fort this summer.”
While there haven’t been any high-profile cancellations in late July or early August, the line in the sand continues to move further back each day. Additionally, a roundtable discussion in The New York Times Magazine published this week quotes bioethicist Zeke Emanuel as saying that fans shouldn’t expect mass gatherings, such as concerts, to return until fall 2021 at the earliest. Stay tuned to Newport Folk Festival’s Facebook page for more official announcements.
Monday, April 13, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET
While many summer events have been rescheduling until the Fall, at least one expert continues to believe that those hopes are unrealistic. In a roundtable discussion in The New York Times Magazine regarding when and how the economy will restart following the health crisis, bioethicist Zeke Emanuel expressed significant hesitation toward the viability of large-scale events in late 2020.
“Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility,” he notes. “I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”
Here’s hoping he’s wrong.
Saturday, April 10, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
Burning Man will not take place in 2020 due to the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus. As organizers noted in a lengthy letter to the Burning Man community,
After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020. Given the painful reality of COVID-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do. Yes, we are heartbroken. We know you are too. In 2020 we need human connection and Immediacy more than ever. But public health and the well-being of our participants, staff, and neighbors in Nevada are our highest priorities.
The large-scale, week-long event, which typically brings tens of thousands of people to the Nevada desert, was set to take place from August 30th–September 7th. Those dates make it one of the “latest” events in 2020 to cancel due to coronavirus. However, this cancellation isn’t necessarily indicative of the entire threshold moving into late-August and early-September. Due to Burning Man’s size and the global audience it attracts, it is inherently a more high-risk event with regard to its potential to spread the virus. Come September, smaller shows and gatherings may face a more favorable situation. Time will tell.
Friday, April 10, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET
AEG Presents has announced a bevy of concert cancellations and postponements in Colorado through the months of May, June, and July. This announcement affects venues like the 1st Bank Center, Mission Ballroom, The Ogden Theatre, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
While venues will reschedule many shows, some have already seen an outright cancellation, such as Lotus‘ show at Red Rocks with Marc Rebillet, Breakbot, and Eminence Ensemble on April 25th and The Motet‘s co-headlining show with Turkuaz, Jerry Harrison, Adrian Belew, and Rubblebucket on May 22nd. As of now, The Revivalists‘ performance with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Neal Francis on June 12th at Red Rocks, as well as Umphrey’s McGee‘s three-night run with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Cory Wong, Goose, Godboner, and more, have not been canceled, leaving hope for rescheduled dates.
Thursday, April 9, 2020, 12:30 p.m. ET
The 2020 edition of LOCKN’ Festival, originally scheduled to take place on June 19th–21st in Arrington, VA, has been postponed until the Fall. It will now take place on October 2nd–4th, joining an increasingly crowded month of rescheduled festivals. The festival’s postponement announcement noted that more information regarding the postponed artist lineup and ticket refunds will be released as it is confirmed.
The LOCKN’ announcement shows the festival cancellation threshold continuing to move into June and reaffirms the month of October as the point to which festival promoters are comfortable with moving.
Dark Star Orchestra also announced that their annual Dark Star Jubilee, originally scheduled to take place in Thornville, OH on May 22nd–24th, has been pushed to next May. The postponement announcement notes that while the 2020 event is not moving forward, most of the bands on the 2020 lineup have already committed to the rescheduled event next year, set to take place on May 28th–30th, 2021.
The band, however, has not given up hope regarding smaller-scale shows this summer. In the same announcement, Dark Star Orchestra confirmed rescheduled dates for their 2020 Spring tour, which is now scheduled to take place in mid-July. Here’s hoping that seemingly ambitious bet works out for them.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 12:30 p.m. ET
Organizers at Bunbury Music Festival announced today that this year’s gathering has been canceled. The festival was set to take place June 5th–7th and host a lineup featuring Twenty One Pilots, Marshmello, The Avett Brothers, Billy Strings, and many more.
The cancellation comes after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine extended the state’s shelter-in-place order until May 1st. Bunbury, which takes place in Cincinnati on the shores of the Ohio River, had planned to wait out the initial stay-at-home order, which was due to expire on April 6th. Now, as the line in the sand moves ever-further into the summer, organizers at Bunbury have decided the best course of action is to cancel this year’s event, and to begin planning for next year.
Bunbury joins a growing number of other June festivals that have canceled or postponed, including Bonnaroo, Hog Farm Hangout, Governors Ball, and Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, which was canceled yesterday. As states like Ohio continue to push shelter-in-place orders into May, it is likely that there will be more June cancellations to come.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 11:30 a.m. ET
The 2020 edition of New Orleans’ BUKU Music + Art Project has officially been canceled. The festival was originally set to take place on March 20th and 21st with a lineup featuring Tyler, The Creator, Run The Jewels, Flume, Illenium, Zeds Dead, and more.
On March 12th, festival organizers had announced that BUKU had been postponed, and would now take place over Labor Day weekend in early September. Now, it seems that BUKU organizers were a little too optimistic about the viability of their event this Fall.
In the cancellation announcement posted on Tuesday, April 7th, BUKU organizers addressed their overly-optimistic rescheduling of this year’s event, noting, “The world was a different place 3 weeks ago when we were forced to cancel BUKU and made the quick call to reschedule it for Labor Day weekend. Maybe we were naive, but the COVID crisis seemed manageable at that point. … It was achievable. But then, as the pandemic began to ravage NewOrleans, and now as we watch cases surpass a million worldwide, it just doesn’t feel right to plan a music festival for later this year and put everyone involved through more uncertainty.”
While likely a prudent move on BUKU’s part, this is a less-than-encouraging development for the cancellation threshold. Many large-scale festivals have already rescheduled to September and October. Now that BUKU has gone from “postponed” to “canceled,” we wouldn’t be surprised to see more events abandon their late-2020 rescheduled dates and turn their sights toward 2021 instead.
Monday, April 6, 2020, 5:30 p.m. ET
The 50th-anniversary edition of Roskilde Festival, scheduled to take place at Animal Showgrounds in Roskilde, Denmark on June 27th-July 4th, has been canceled, event organizers announced on Monday. Headliners Taylor Swift, Deftones, Kendrick Lamar, Faith No More, Kacey Musgraves, Tyler, The Creator, FKA Twigs, Thom Yorke, The Strokes, HAIM, and Thomas Helmig were set to perform at the 7-day event, along with hundreds of other musicians.
In a Facebook announcement, Roskilde organizers cited the Danish government’s decision to extend its prohibition on larger gatherings until August 31st, 2020 as the reason for the cancelation.
“Though we feared this would happen, we have until now hoped that it wouldn’t end this way. However, the risk of getting infected with the COVID-19 virus is too large when many people are gathered, and that consideration is by far the most important,” they said. The announcement continued, “Roskilde Festival no. 50 was meant to be something very special. It was to mark and celebrate the roots of our festival by looking forward to the future.”
All tickets purchased for the 2020 event will be valid for the 2021 event, however, refund options are available as well. The festival organizers promise to reach out about these options in the near future.
Monday, April 6, 2020, 1:15 p.m. ET
Organizers for Rocklahoma took to social media to announce that this year’s festival has been canceled. The original gathering was set for Memorial Day weekend, May 22nd–24th, and adds to the growing list of May events that have been canceled. Rocklahoma plans to return in 2021, rather than attempting to reschedule for later in the fall.
Rocklahoma follows Summer Camp Music Festival, which was also scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, in announcing a cancelation/postponement. Summer Camp, however, will still take place in 2020 but has instead moved to the weekend of August 21st–23rd. The announcements from Rocklahoma and Summer Camp signify the likelihood that most events in May will be canceled or postponed.
Monday, April 6, 2020, 10:30 a.m. ET
Electric Daisy Carnival, originally scheduled to take place from May 15th–17th in Las Vegas, has been postponed. The event will now take place on October 2nd–4th. This follows the ongoing trend of events set to take place in May and June moving to the Fall months.
Postponements aren’t the only things getting announced in the Fall, either. Last week, Telluride Blues & Brews Festival announced the lineup for its 2020 event, which is set to take place in Telluride, CO from September 18th–20th.
From these new announcements/rescheduled dates, we continue to see a trend of concert organizers looking past the summer and placing their bets on a revival of live events come Fall.
Saturday, April 4, 2020, 3:30 p.m. ET
The Disco Biscuits have detailed several rescheduled shows from the band’s recently postponed 2020 spring tour, offering a light at the end of our proverbial quarantine tunnel. Dates for Missouri, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Maryland have now been moved to the end of the summer and fall.
The newly rescheduled dates will see shows in St. Louis, MO (7/29) and Kansas City, MO (7/30) before a two night stand at Denver, CO’s Mission Ballroom (7/31, 8/1). Two nights at Minneapolis, MN’s Fillmore Minneapolis (8/26, 8/27) will then set up a stint at The Caverns in Pelham, TN (9/3-9/6), where the quartet added an extra, fourth show. The last two rescheduled dates will see the Biscuits hit the Filmore Silver Spring in Silver Spring, MD (10/2, 10/3).
Furthermore, the band made sure to mention that more information regarding shows in Raleigh, NC; Philadelphia, PA; Port Chester, NY; New Orleans, LA; Charlotte, NC; and Birmingham, AL would be available soon.
Friday, April 3, 2020, 1:00 p.m. ET
Organizers for Skull & Roses Festival have announced the official reschedule dates for its 2020 festival. The festival is now rescheduled for April 8th-11th, 2021.
The festival was originally slated to occur on April 2nd–5th at Ventura, CA’s Ventura County Fairgrounds, but was one of the many live music events affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead of trying to hash out new dates in the fall with the uncertainty of the state of live events being better, organizers of Skull & Roses felt it was best to allow a full year to fully prepare for one of the world’s biggest celebrations of the music of the Grateful Dead.
Original purchases of 2020 festival tickets, camping passes, and hotel reservations will be honored for the new dates in 2021, and fans who keep their 2020 orders will receive a $20 merch booth credit to use during the rescheduled festival. Read the festival’s official statement here.
Campout For The Cause also announced its official cancellation of its 2020 festival. The 12th annual festival was initially scheduled for May 29th-31st at Buena Vista, CO’s The Meadows, with a lineup of The California Honeydrops, Drew Emmitt, Lindsay Lou, Daniel Rodriguez, Rapidgrass, Grant Farm, Tierro Band, Mama Magnolia, Bonfire Dub, We Dream Dawn, WinterWonderWomen, The Sea Stars, Pickin’ on the Dead, and more.
The festival will now take place on June 4th-6th, 2021. All 2020 ticket holders will be automatically refunded to their original payment account. For more information, please visit the festival’s official Facebook page and its website.
Thursday, April 2, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET
Organizers for The Hog Farm Hangout have announced the postponement of its 2020 festival. The festival was initially scheduled for June 12th-14th at Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, CA, but will now take place on September 18th-20th. In a Facebook post, festival organizers confirmed that much of the lineup will stay the same, which sees three nights of The String Cheese Incident.
All festival tickets purchased will be valid during the new dates, however, the festival has announced that refund and exchange options will be available in the coming days should any patrons not be able to attend the new dates.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 5:30 p.m. ET
Organizers for DelFest have announced the postponement of its 2020 festival. The festival was initially scheduled for May 21st-24th at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD and feature a lineup including The Del McCoury Band, The Travelin’ McCourys, Old Crow Medicine Show, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, Punch Brothers, Sam Bush, Billy Strings, Mandolin Orange, The Infamous Stringdusters, Sierra Hull, Leftover Salmon, The Jerry Douglas Band, Anders Osborne & Jackie Greene, Molly Tuttle, The Lil Smokies, Della Mae, Cris Jacobs Band, emcee Joe Craven, and more. Organizers have announced that a postponement date in the Fall could be likely, or until 2021.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 1:00 p.m. ET
The 2020 edition of Boston Calling Music Festival has now been officially canceled. The festival was initially scheduled to take place on May 22nd–24th and feature a lineup including Foo Fighters, Rage Against The Machine, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The festival will be reaching out to ticket buyers regarding options for refunds and/or rolling tickets over to next year’s event. Alabama’s Hangout Music Festival also announced its cancellation today. It was originally scheduled to take place on May 15th–18th.
These cancellations should come as no surprise at this point, as virtually every large-scale event during the month of May has been canceled or postponed.
Monday, March 30, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
The 2020 edition of Trondossa Music & Arts Festival, the Widespread Panic-hosted event originally scheduled to take place on May 16th and 17th, has been officially canceled due to the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus. The 2020 edition of Rooster Walk, originally set to take place at the end of May, has also been canceled.
At this point, you can safely assume that any large-scale events scheduled to take place during the month of May will be canceled/postponed in the near future if haven’t already gotten the axe.
Monday, March 30, 2020, 11:30 a.m. ET
Barcelona, Spain’s annual Primavera Sound festival has been postponed. The event, originally set to take place in early June, has now set its sights on August 26th–30th. While this is far from the first early-June event we’ve seen get postponed, the rescheduled dates in August seem to indicate an increasingly common notion that large-scale concerts may be viable come late-Summer.
Monday, March 30, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET
Various legacy artists have now called off extensive 2020 tours as we continue to fight against the spread of the coronavirus. Roger Waters‘ This Is Not A Drill tour, originally set to run from early July through early October, has been postponed until 2021. As Waters noted in the postponement announcement, “Bummer, but if it saves one life, it’s worth it.
Ringo Starr has also pushed his North American 2020 tour to next year. The tour was initially set to run from late May through early June. “This is very difficult for me,” the former The Beatles drummer said in a statement. “In 30 years I think I’ve only missed 2 or 3 gigs nevermind a whole tour. But this is how things are for all of us now, I have to stay in just like you have to stay in, and we all know it’s the peace and loving thing we do for each other.”
Both of these postponements seem to indicate that the acts are calling 2020 live shows a wash. Don’t be too discouraged, though. Both Waters and Starr are in the age demographic most susceptible to the virus, and their fans skew the same age. While they are both clearing their 2020 schedules, these were both massive tours. Their postponements don’t necessarily indicate that any shows in late-2020 will not be viable, but rather likely indicate that tours of this magnitude are not yet comfortable with pushing forward during this time of uncertainty.
Friday, March 27, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
Dark Star Orchestra announced that their spring tour has been rescheduled. Most of the rescheduled dates, originally slated to take place in March and April, will now take place in October and December. One date on the band’s rescheduled list, however, stands out: The band’s performance at The Caverns, originally scheduled for April 11th, has been moved to June 25th. While we’ve seen many of the scheduled events for this Spring move to the Fall, this is the earliest rescheduled date we’ve seen so far. Will events be viable come late-June? We don’t know for sure, but Dark Star Orchestra seems to be betting on it. For a full list of rescheduled tour dates, head here.
Thursday, March 26, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET
Domefest, originally set to take place on May 14th–16th, has been canceled. The Pigeons Playing Ping Pong-hosted fest was one of the last holdouts for the month of May, which at this point you can safely assume will be as devoid of live music events as the month of April.
Thursday, March 26, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET
New York City festival Governors Ball has been canceled due to the ongoing health crisis. The event was initially set to take place during the first weekend of June. The cancellation is the latest to push the threshold of the ongoing wave of event shutdowns into the early summer.
Thursday, March 26, 2020, 12:15 p.m. ET
Organizers for Illinois’ Summer Camp Music Festival have announced that the 2020 event will be postponed from its original scheduled dates of May 22nd–24th to August 21st-23rd, in hopes of outlasting the national spread of COVID-19. According to the announcement, all of the event’s top tier headliners (moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead) have agreed to perform the new August dates, although due to the unavoidable schedule conflicts, a small number of artists on the 2020 lineup poster may change.
The postponement to August does allow the event to stand out from the heavily saturated schedule of major festivals which have been pushed back to the fall months, including Summerfest, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Coachella, and Bonnaroo. The August dates, however, are still uncertain with regard to the viability of large-scale events, so we’re hoping things are good to go by then to avoid another postponement.
Thursday, March 26, 2020, 10 a.m. ET
Two major cancellations came from the U.K. today in the forms of Download Festival and Isle Of Wight both pushing to 2021 amid health concerns. While many in the U.S. might not be paying terribly close attention to cancellations and postponements from across the pond, this one is significant as both festivals were set for the second weekend of June, with Download Festival going June 12th–14th and Isle of Wight 11th–14th. Download Festival was set to feature a hard rock lineup with headlining acts KISS, Iron Maiden, System of a Down, Korn, Deftones, and many more. Isle of Wight, on the other hand, is another of the U.K.’s long-standing pop megafestivals, in the same vein as Glastonbury, which has also been canceled. Isle Of Wight was set to host a lineup featuring Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, The Chemical Brothers, Duran Duran, and many more.
This marks further festival cancellations pushing into the month of June, joining the previously mentioned Glastonbury, as well as Bonnaroo, Backwoods At Mulberry Mountain, Summerfest, Firefly, and an ever-expanding list of others in the United States.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 4:15 p.m. ET
Mountain Jam, which was set to return on May 29th–31st at New York’s Bethel Woods Center For The Arts with scheduled performances from Trey Anastasio Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Gov’t Mule, The Head and The Heart, Brandi Carlile, Greensky Bluegrass, Andy Frasco and the U.N., and more, has officially been canceled.
An announcement shared by event producer Gary Chetkof on Wednesday reads, “Mountain Jam will no longer be taking place this year. After 15 consecutive years we will miss all the familiar faces and uplifting vibes that our community shares.”
It’s worth taking note that while this Live Nation-produced festival has been canceled, various other Live Nation festivals like The Peach (July 2nd–5th) and Camp Bisco (July 9th–July 11th) are still, officially, going forward at this time. From this, we can assume that the production giant has accepted the doomed fate of live events in May, but continues to hold out hope for events later in the summer for the time being.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET
Trey Anastasio Band has officially canceled their 2020 summer tour, which was set to run from late May through early June. Trey’s main project, Phish, has yet to comment on its scheduled summer tour, which is set to begin in mid-July.
This seems to be in line with many of the current cancellations, which appear to show the concert industry abandoning dates in June and looking toward July as a potentially viable month for concerts to resume. That, or they’re just not ready to rule July out just yet.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET
Milwaukee, WI’s annual Summerfest, originally scheduled for June 24th—July 5th, 2020, has been postponed. The long-running summer festival will now take place between September 3rd and September 19th. As the postponement announcement notes, “The new dates provide the best possible option to deliver the Summerfest experience our fans and sponsors have grown to love; we are doing everything possible to continue a tradition which spans five decades.”
Today also brought the official cancellation of Firefly Music Festival, originally set to take place from June 18th–21st. The festival will not be rescheduled for later in the year, as organizers have opted to cancel this year’s event outright and instead look toward next year.
These events’ originally-scheduled late-June, early-July dates make them some of the later U.S. festivals to be canceled or postponed. We’ll continue to keep an eye on the various events still scheduled to take place during June and July timeframe as their viability continues to change by the day.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 9:30 a.m. ET
The International Olympic Committee has confirmed that the Summer Olympic Games originally set to take place from July 24th–August 9th have been officially postponed. The International Olympic Committee has stated that the Tokyo Olympic Games should be rescheduled for “no later than summer 2021.”
While this is not a “concert,” it is a very large, international gathering, which could give some indication as to the viability of large events in the late summer of 2020. As of now, most events and tours set to take place during this late-summer timeframe have not commented on their status.
While the originally-set Olympic games mark one of the latest-scheduled 2020 events to get the axe due to COVID-19, the thought process behind the Olympics’ postponement was surely heavily influenced by the nature of the Games, which bring people from virtually everywhere in the world to a small, somewhat confined location. While this doesn’t necessarily change the situation for domestic music festivals and tours during July/August, it certainly puts those shows on watch.
Saturday, March 21, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET
Epicenter, Welcome To Rockville, and Sonic Temple have all been canceled for 2020 by Danny Wimmer Presents. The three large hard rock and heavy metal festivals were scheduled for the first three weekends of May. Epicenter was slated for May 1st–3rd in Marston, NC; Welcome To Rockville in Daytona Beach, FL (May 8th–10th); and Sonic Temple in Columbus, OH (May 15th–17th). That same production company also puts on Louder Than Life in Louisville, KY (9/18–20), Aftershock in Sacramento, CA (10/9–11), and Bourbon and Beyond in Louisville, KY (9/25–27). As of today, each of those festivals are still scheduled to occur. DWM has even given fans with tickets to any of the canceled festivals the option to redeem their passes for entry at either Louder Than Life or Aftershock. Otherwise, tickets for the canceled festivals will be honored with refunds or admission to next year’s event.
The cancellation of these three large festivals in the first half of May shows the line in the sand being pushed further back toward the beginning of summer. While they may not be the latest festivals to be canceled in terms of dates (which goes to Glastonbury which was scheduled for June 24th–28th), it joins a growing number of May events that are beginning to be canceled.
Saturday, March 21, 2020. 12:00 p.m. ET
Suwannee Rising, originally scheduled to take place at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL on April 16th–18th, has been officially postponed. In their official statement, festival organizers noted that considering “the uncertainty about COVID-19. we feel uneasy about choosing a future date to hold this event. We will closely monitor this pandemic and consult the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health, and our local health department.”
The cancellation of the April festival was all but a certainty as large events across the country (and the world) have been halted through the month. However, while some of the earlier postponed festivals were quick to announce rescheduled dates for later this year, the fact that Suwannee Rising is holding off from doing so may indicate a shift in the projected length of this concert hiatus.
Friday, March 20, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET
After initially announcing its April 2020 postponement earlier this week, Sweetwater 420 Fest revealed its rescheduled dates for when the Atlanta, GA-based festival returns next year on April 23rd-25th, 2021. Event organizers confirmed they have locked in a number of artists who were supposed to perform at this year’s event prior to its cancelation, including Oysterhead, Trey Anastasio Band, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Lettuce, Toots & The Maytals, and more.
This move seems like it was mostly focused on efforts to retain the festival’s scheduled 2020 lineup, so it’s hard to say whether it gives any indication as to the viability of concerts and festivals in the second half of 2020.
Thursday, March 19th, 2020, 12:00 p.m. ET
As of now, we can assume that all March 2020 shows and festivals have been canned. April is also looking pretty bare, with large-scale festivals like New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (originally April 23rd–May 3rd), Coachella (originally April 10th–12th, April 17th–19th; now October 9th–11th, October 16th–18th), and StageCoach (originally April 24th–26th; now October 23rd–25th) postponing to the fall and SweetWater 420 Fest on indefinite postponement/cancellation.
While many scheduled events for the month of May continue to hold out hope that the virus will have run its course by then, May event postponements have already begun, most notably with BottleRock Napa (originally May 22nd–24th) moving to the first weekend of October. The cancellations and postponements have begun pushing into June, as well, with Bonnaroo (originally scheduled for June 11th–14th) pushing back until September and Glastonbury (originally June 24th–28th) and Backwoods at Mulberry Mountain (originally June 4th–7th) canceling outright. The Rolling Stones also notably postponed their entire spring/summer tour of North America, which was set to run from early May through early July.
For now, it seems that the industry is hoping that events in July will be safe from the cascade of cancellations.
Check back for more updates on COVID-19 concert cancellation timeframes as the situation continues to unfold.
[Originally published 3/19/20]