crowd photo concerts coronavirus cancelled postponed
[Photo by: Rachel Lynette French/Unsplash]

While people are eagerly watching for some sort of good news regarding the state of live concerts amid the coronavirus pandemic, expectations for a return this year are looking even more slim at this point.

In a New York Times article, several venue operators and organizations involved in live entertainment industries are saying that 2020 is quickly becoming a complete write-off.

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This isn’t the first time experts and insiders have warned that live music won’t be returning until next year.

It’s unlikely regular concerts is happening until a vaccine is made readily available for the public which won’t be happening until midway through next year at the earliest.

While proposals for drive-in concerts or socially-distant shows in venues have come through, even Live Nation president Joe Berchtold is playing it safe and waiting to hear a solid timeline for vaccinations before giving a firm return.

“While we think that phenomenal strides are being made in both cases, given the lead time involved in planning major concert tours, and the uncertainties that exist today, we don’t expect a large volume of major tours in the fall,” says Berchtold.

Chicago’ Steppenwolf Theater Company artistic director Anna D. Shapiro tells NYT that she’s not expecting on booking performances at all this year.

“I think 2020 is gone,” says Shapiro. “I’ll be stunned if we’re back in theater.”

Elsewhere in the piece, AEG Presents chairman Jay Marciano says something a bit more vague than the Live Nation president. “It doesn’t seem likely we are going to open in the fall,” he says.

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Back at the beginning of the virus taking hold of everyone’s attention, Coachella postponed their 2020 event to this October. The promoter behind the festival declined to comment for the story.

Other organizers involved in theater, dance, classical and other performing arts also spoke for the piece. They’re offering their perspective that winter 2021 is the most likely return timeframe for concerts. Executive director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl worries a return is setting the industry back.

“If we go back to work too soon, and a theater anywhere becomes a hot spot, that is going to set the whole industry back. Who knows what miracle might come down the pike. But certainly I don’t think there’s going to be large theater here in New York City soon,” says McColl. “And it seems more likely next calendar year.”

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Concerts are unlikely to happen for a long time but companies are looking for ways to make restricted shows possible.

California based design firm Production Club recently revealed an idea for a protective suit people could wear at shows.

The design is an offshoot of a hazmat suit with an airtight design, app-controlled speakers, a microphone and an N95 filter system. It would be rented to venues who would be responsible for sanitizing.

When concerts do make their return, a lot of changes will be put in place including changes to ticket prices, restrictions on moshing and crowd surfing and more.

Are you surprised about the expectations that all live entertainment events and concerts are not making a return until 2021? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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