Reality is really starting to set in that the summer may be lost to Coronavirus. Most festivals this summer around the world have been cancelled with a few postponed to the fall. The consequences of this would be devastating to the live music business, forcing many festivals to shutter for good or get bought up by conglomerates at bottom dollar prices. The workers and contracting companies who rely on these events would be in terrible shape financially. And the artists who rely on live show income could be forced out of music into a terrible economy to try and scape together a living. While there has been hope for the rest of the year, some experts are putting the kibosh on that.
In a NY Times interview with a series of experts on the impact of the Coronavirus, the vice provost for global initiatives and director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania; host of a new podcast about coronavirus, “Making the Call”; and author of the forthcoming book “Which Country Has the World’s Best Health Care?” Zeke Emmanuel, said that he doesn’t expect large events to be back until fall 2021.
“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. I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest,” he said.
This would be very, very devastating. Fans are the lifeblood of music and sports. Without them, those entities wouldn't exist. While it is easier to watch sports on television, empty stadiums has a very eerie feeling for those watching and the athletes playing. Sports leagues have been trying to figure out when they can get back to playing, with some soccer leagues in Europe trying for May or June. The NBA and MLB have been floating ideas of playing in isolation without fans.
Large festivals could be the last to return given that if one person of 50,000 in an international crowd is infected, that could spark another outbreak. Travel restrictions in place could help prevent festivals from being the epicenter of international outbreaks and some safety measures could be taken at the entrance to mitigate some risk, but there is only so much one can do with that many people all in place. Just think how many people you get close to at a large festival. This is just one person’s prediction thus far, but we hope that things turn out to be much better than this. You can do your part by staying home, keeping distance from others, washing your hands and wearing a mask in public.