[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]
WARNING: This story contains a lot more questions than answers.
The list of festival cancellations is kilometres long: SXSW, Glastonbury, Roskilde, Rock am Ring, Wacken, Osheaga, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Festival d’été de Québec, the Great Escape and dozens more.
The organizers of Coachella and Bonnaroo are trying to be optimistic, postponing things until the fall. Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters, the Killers, and thousands of other acts are in limbo when it comes to touring.
Worldwide, music venues of all sizes are closed until further notice.
Just this year alone, the concert industry is expected to lose US$9 billion. No wonder Live Nation, the world’s biggest promoter, has embarked on US$500 million worth of cost-cutting. CEO Michael Rapino is even foregoing his US$3 million salary.
Lest you think that we’re just talking about rock, pop, and country, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has cancelled the remainder of its 2019-20 season, while the TD Vancouver International Jazz festival has been nixed for this year.
It’s bad in the UK, too. The creative industries contribute £111.7 billion ($196.5 billion) to the British economy.
Fans are annoyed. Ticketmaster and other ticketsellers aren’t rushing to fill refund requests for a variety of reasons.
And then there are the musicians. Artist guarantees have evaporated. And while the big stars can probably afford to wait it out, everyday working musicians who depend on playing live to survive are growing very, very desperate.
Everyone wishes things could get back to normal. That, however, may be some time in the future.