At this point, it’s safe to say that live music is in jeopardy this fall.
Massive promoters like Live Nation and AEG have instituted vaccination/and or negative test requirements for entry, and many other venues will follow suit if they haven’t already, but if Covid numbers continue to rise, it’s only a matter of time before shows get shut down.
Garth Brooks is already considering it, Stevie Nicks canceled the rest of her tour for the year, and more cancelations might be around the corner.
As much as we’ll all hate it, we’d be fools to act like it isn’t a possibility.
But for Jason Aldean, he’s enjoying every second he can get back on stage.
At a recent show in New York, Jason got the crowd fired up with an on-stage speech about finally being back on the road, and not seeing any masks in the crowd.
“I gotta be honest, my favorite thing about coming back, it’s been 17 months since me and the guys were on tour last, alright?
This is our first weekend back and who knows what’s going to happen next week so, shit we might play all night tonight, I don’t know ’cause I don’t if they’re going to let us play next week.
But, you know the coolest thing about all this, the coolest thing to me right now… is that I’m looking out, seeing all you guys, and I don’t see one fucking mask. I’ve had just about enough of that shit. ”
Naturally, he drew the obligatory “USA” chant from the crowd.
Of course, a statement like that is gonna piss some people off given the current state of things, but something tells me Jason Aldean doesn’t really care.
And while masks generally are not required at shows, at least right now, it will be interesting to see what artists, venues and promoters do if the pandemic continues to spread this fall.
Obviously, nobody wants to see live music disappear again, but with the way things are going, and more and more restrictions being placed on live music, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see masked shows or canceled shows all together.
The second largest concert promoter in the country behind Live Nation, AEG recently announced that beginning no later than October 1, attendees at its venues, festivals and theaters will be required to show proof of vaccination for entry.
And unlike many of these policies we’ve seen implemented, AEG will not allow those who are unvaccinated the option to present a negative COVID test instead.
AEG owns or operates festivals such as Coachella and its sister country festival Stagecoach, Born & Raised Music Festival in Oklahoma, and Buckeye Country Superfest in Ohio. They also operate a number of venues and theaters across the country.
In a statement, AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano said:
“We have come to the conclusion that, as a market leader, it was up to us to take a real stand on vaccination status.
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.”
Live Nation on the other hand, recently announced that they will allow artists to require attendees to show either proof of a COVID vaccine or a negative test prior to being allowed into their shows.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino says that they have put together a plan that will allow artists to implement the requirements if they choose, and cited last weekend’s Lollapalooza as a successful implementation of their model.
“We are working to ensure we are reopening in the best way possible for staff, artists, crew, fans, and communities at large.
Our teams have worked together to put new processes in place so that artists doing shows with Live Nation in the U.S. can require all attendees and staff to be fully vaccinated or show a negative test result for entry, where permitted by law.
We know people are eager to return to live events and we hope these measures encourage even more people to get vaccinated.
That is the number one thing anyone can do to take care of those around them and we are encouraging as many shows as possible to adopt this model.”
We’ve also seen cancellations start to pop up again, with Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam in Panama City Beach being pushed back to 2022 after the festival was denied a permit from the city due to the recent surge in COVID cases.
At this point, it seems clear that artists and venues really feel like they don’t have a choice: Either implement these requirements, or risk another shutdown and even more cancellations that could potentially put them out of business.
So whether fans like it or not, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of these requirements just yet.