Legendary Tragically Hip manager Jake Gold tells us why COVID-19 will make SARS look like the sniffles for the music industry. And actual doctors are recommending we switch from shaking hands to the “Live Long and Prosper” sign.
Remember when you had concert tickets for shows in March and early April and were so stoked to go and hang out with your friends? Yeah… the world had other ideas.
Over the past seven days, hundreds of shows around the world have been canceled or postponed due to the continuing coronavirus outbreak. Love it or hate it, it’s a step toward trying to help slow the spread of the disease and to protect not only concert goers, but everyone around them, plus the musicians, venue workers, techs, ticket takers, bartenders, merch vendors, you name it, all the contributing acts that support the concert world.
Pearl Jam postpones spring tour
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As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate. Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses. It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. So we are being told that being part of large gatherings is high on the list of things to avoid as this global health crisis is now beginning to affect all of our lives. Unfortunately, communing in large groups is a huge part of what we do as a band and the tour we’ve been busy planning for months is now in jeopardy… We have and will always keep the safety and well-being of our supporters as top priority. So it is with deep frustration and regret that we are forced to make this most unfortunate of announcements… This scheduled first leg of our PJ/Gigaton tour will need to be postponed and shows rescheduled for a later date. We’ve worked hard with all our management and business associates to find other solutions or options but the levels of risk to our audience and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level. Add to that we also have a unique group of passionate fans who travel far and wide. We’ve always been humbled by this and respect their energies and devotion. However in this case, travel is something to avoid. It certainly hasn’t helped that there’s been no clear messages from our government regarding people’s safety and our ability to go to work. Having no examples of our national health department’s ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead. Again, here in Seattle what we are witnessing we would not wish for anyone. What we do wish for the rest of the country is that they can avoid the harsh negative effects of this and retain their sense of community and take care of one another. Just as we look forward to our next concerts and the ability to gather together and play loud songs as energized as ever. We are so sorry… And deeply upset.. If anyone out there feels the same based on this news, we share that emotion with you. – Ed & Pearl Jam
Billie Eilish postpones North American tour dates up to the end of March. From her Twitter:
“It is with great sadness to announce the following Billie Eilish ‘WHERE DO WE GO’ North American tour dates have been postponed until further notice. Details on postponed dates to be announced soon. All tickets will be honored for the new dates. i’m so sad to do this but we need to postpone these dates to keep everyone safe. we’ll let you know when they can be rescheduled. please keep yourselves healthy. i love you.” – Billie
European and North American tour dates for Montreal-based electronic underground duo Pelada were cancelled and now the band is stranded in Europe and desperately trying to get home to Canada; however, their funds are running very low and the have been asking for (and receiving) support and donations. They had to personally arrange for work visas before heading to Europe to start the tour and were also supposed to play at a few festivals, which have also been cancelled. The following are links to a Montreal Gazette article and the Twitter account of Pelada band member Tobias Rochman who says he’s glad that he’s “always carried sanitizing wipes in his drum kit.”
Tool and Rage Against the Machine
Both Tool and Rage Against the Machine have postponed the early portions of their highly anticipated spring tours, promising fans they’ll be rescheduling dates as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.
— TOOL effing TOOL (@Tool) March 12, 2020
— RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE (@RATM) March 13, 2020
Dan Mangan has postponed the remainder of his March tour dates, with the second show at the Danforth in Toronto rescheduled for Friday, June 26, and a show in Kitchener rescheduled for Saturday, June 28. He’s also working with Side Door, his project to help independent musicians play shows in smaller venues including homes, to figure out ways to keep musicians playing in these trying times.
In response to a question posed on Instagram, Matthew Good — who has postponed most of his spring tour in Canada and the U.S. — took a kind of measured approach, saying if people want to be mad at him for playing a last show before hitting pause, they need to be mad at the airlines for still flying people around, to the venues for not closing, etc.
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While the majority support the postponement of the tour, there are some that are quite upset that the last show in Toronto was not cancelled. Further, I have personally received direct messages that have been very disturbing. One called me “a monster for endangering human life”. Every time I read that I’m left speechless. Yes, the Toronto show went ahead as scheduled. Just as my friend Dan Mangan’s show went ahead across town at the Danforth. Right now an incredible level of hysteria is raging across the land. It is a level of hysteria that a global Ebola pandemic would inspire. And COVID-19 is decidedly not Ebola. Before your self righteous fingers reach for the comment icon, take into consideration that the person writing this suffers from an INCURABLE lymphatic disease that severely impacts immunity. I get pneumonia usually once a year, even having all of my shots, and when it occurs, just like in the case of Bernie Mac’s death, I run the same risk. I ran that risk when, during the show, I went out into the audience to sing “Dreading It”. I ran that risk today by getting on an airplane. The severity of disease is not lost on me. Mine will most likely take my life at a considerably early age. If you’re healthy and do get COVID-19, you’ll feel unwell for a week or two. You will not bleed from your eyes, nor will your lungs turn to concrete causing suffocation. The Four Horsemen have not headed towards the stables even though everything on social media and much of the news are winding the doomsday clock. The only weapon of import at present is REASON, not irrationality. I had the choice not to get on the plane today. My ticket was paid for, but I knew the risks of being trapped in a metal tube with strangers. If I am a “monster” for endangering human life, so are airlines, public transit, hospital emergency rooms, and a litany of other things. Did I expect the airline to reimburse me if I chose not to get on the plane because I considered the fact they were still flying reckless? No. Because that would have been my decision. The internet has always been home to people who would never say the things they write to a person’s face. That’s the luxury of it.
On Monday morning, in a very Dave Grohl-type way, the Foo Fighters announced they’re postponing early dates on their 25th anniversary Van Tour:
Foo Fighters are postponing dates on the upcoming Van Tour 2020. pic.twitter.com/QlFoVE5oOe
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) March 16, 2020
Music Festivals and Other Tours
There’s no word yet from the Black Keys on whether their spring tours will be postponed or scrapped altogether, but the longer the virus continues to spread, the odds increase that things will be shifted.
As of this writing, many summer shows are still rolling forward. Coachella has been postponed until the fall, but there’s been no word so far on schedule or lineup changes for Lollapalooza, Sonic Temple Art and Music Festival (formerly Rock on the Range), Ohana, Firefly, Bonnaroo, or others. Stay tuned.
Rewire Music Festival in The Hague, NL is cancelled.
Today we have made the difficult but inevitable decision to cancel the upcoming Rewire 2020 festival, scheduled for 3, 4 and 5 April due to the coronavirus. For the complete statement and more info see: https://t.co/DhUT3F6V6y
— Rewire (@rewirefestival) March 13, 2020
Tremor Festival in Sao Miguel, Azores, Portugal has been cancelled:
Following the guidelines from the General Directorate for Health and the Government of the Azores regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) containment measures, it is with deep sadness that we inform you that Tremor Festival 2020 is cancelled. + info: https://t.co/l0Ej96Gh8f pic.twitter.com/RRugSYAK6o
— Tremor (@tremorpdl) March 12, 2020
The Bans Off My Body benefit concert presented by The Feminist Institute for Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, scheduled for March 14 has been cancelled. The lineup included former Hole members Courtney Love and Melissa Auf der Maur, who last played together eight years ago. Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell was also slated to perform at the event with his wife, Etty.
A statement regarding the concert’s cancellation was issued by Feminist Institute President, Kathleen Landy:
“In light of current public health concerns, we are disappointed to have to postpone our benefit concert. We are deeply committed to the values represented by Planned Parenthood’s Bans Off My Body campaign and grateful to Courtney Love, Melissa Auf der Maur, Perry and Etty Farrell, BETTY, Rachael Yamagata, Joan As Police Woman, Jesse Paris Smith & Rebecca Foon, and Mx Justin Vivian Bond, as well as Executive Producer Lawrence B. Benenson, Producer Hal Willner and Town Hall for supporting our efforts. We look forward to fulfilling the goals of the evening as soon as we can responsibly do so. Many thanks to all our friends and supporters for staying the course with us!”
The 50th Annual Glastonbury Festival taking place in June is, at this point, still going ahead as planned. Emily Eavis, one of Glastonbury’s organizers posted this message via Instagram:
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#repost @emily_eavis: So, after much consideration given the current circumstances, and with the best of intentions, here is the first list of musical acts for Glastonbury 2020. As things stand we are still working hard to deliver our 50th anniversary Festival in June and we are very proud of the bill that we have put together over the last year or so. No one has a crystal ball to see exactly where we will all be 15 weeks from now, but we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed that it will be here at Worthy Farm for the greatest show on Earth! As always this is just a taste of what is to come, we plan to announce many more artists and attractions, area by area, over the coming weeks leading up to the full line-up in May. In the meantime we post this with much love to all. (There’s also a non-circular version of the line-up – and full text list – on our website now) #glastonbury #glastonbury2020
BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Festival is the first UK music festival to be cancelled due to Coronavirus. The annual event was to take place May 22-24 at Camperdown Park in Dundee, Scotland. The festival has been held annually and some years semi-annually since 2000 in various locations around the UK. Big Weekend was originally a free event until 2018 and lineups are typically comprised of new/emerging artists.
American Band My Chemical Romance postponed Australia and New Zealand tour dates, which included their headline spot at the Download Festival in Australia. This statement was issued by the band:
“To our dearest friends –
It is with heavy hearts that we have decided to postpone our performances in Australia and New Zealand. We felt this was the right decision for our fans, our band, our crew, and our families given the current global situation. We apologize to our fans, but please know that we didn’t come to this decision lightly. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to being with you all again as soon as we can. In the meantime, please be good to each other.”
–My Chemical Romance
In an unfortunate PR move, Download Australia issued a statement that called out My Chemical Romance’s decision to back out as the reason for the festival’s cancellation; citing that eight days is too short a timeframe to arrange an alternate act. Here is a link to the full statement.
Celine Dion has postponed tour dates from now until the end of April. Ticket holders are being asked to keep their current tickets, which can be exchanged for rescheduled dates.
The Canadian Folk Music Awards, which were to take place April 3rd and 4th in Charlottetown, PEI have been cancelled. Here is their statement:
“The Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMAs), in partnership with Music PEI, is very sad to announce the cancellation of the 15th Annual Canadian Folk Music Awards weekend, scheduled for April 3rd & 4th in Charlottetown, P.E.I., due to growing concerns about COVID-19.
After considering carefully the advice of governments, public health authorities and medical experts, as well as consulting with the folk music community, we feel this is the best course of action as the health and safety of our patrons, artists, staff and the general public is paramount and the rapidly changing course of the pandemic world-wide is difficult to predict.
We will explore alternative ways to celebrate the remarkable achievements of this year’s nominees and recipients from the wonderful world of Canadian folk music in the days to come. We also want to thank everyone involved for their tireless work and generous support. Tickets purchased for this year’s CFMA events in Charlottetown are eligible for refunds. We will provide details of how to obtain refunds as soon as possible. Check our website for updates.
Many airlines are currently offering free exchanges and/or cancellations for airline tickets through to the end of April, 2020 due to COVID-19. Please visit airline websites directly for the latest policies (AIR CANADA / WESTJET). If you have made hotel reservations please be sure to contact the hotel to cancel.
We thank you for your understanding and your continued support.”
The 49th Annual Juno Awards – cancelled. Here is a link to the joint statement issued by the Junos and governments of Saskatchewan and Saskatoon:
Retail Events and Conferences
Record Store Day – the 13th annual day celebrating independent record stores around the world has been postponed to June 20th.
Record Store Day is a worldwide event celebrating record stores & their place in the community. In the interest of being good members of those communities, we've decided to move the date to JUNE 20.
Wash your hands. We want everyone to be happy, healthy and getting together. pic.twitter.com/TkPtjqyPEr
— RecordStoreDayCanada (@RSDCanada) March 13, 2020
Cosmo MusicFEST & EXPO (CosmoFEST), the retailer’s big, free, day-long rock festival, has also been changed. The festival will no longer have main stage acts, beer garden, EXPO tent, and festival registration. Changes will be updated as they happen.
To our cherished community, in supporting the health of our community, we have made the difficult decision to cancel parts of #CosmoFEST (June 6, 2020) this year. For more details, please visit: https://t.co/DxzfDmoFJv
— Cosmo Music (@CosmoMusic) March 17, 2020
Canadian Music Week, originally scheduled for mid-May, has been postponed until September, the organizers announced Monday morning.
Canadian Music Week will be postponing our 2020 event due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 in the interest of the health and safety of everyone involved.
Our new dates are September 8-13. Please see our statement here: https://t.co/5uYWhnGLpd
— Canadian Music Week (@CMW_Week) March 16, 2020