Live Nation, AEG + More Suspending All Tours During Coronavirus Pandemic
Live Nation, AEG and more have joined together to paused all large-scale concert tours until April in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The movement brings concert promoters, venue operators and booking agencies together and will affect shows both in the United States and abroad.
Per Rolling Stone, Live Nation and AEG, along with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), William Morris Endeavor (WME), Paradigm and United Talent Agency (UTA), say in a joint statement that they "have come together to form a global task force to drive strategic support and unified direction ensuring precautionary efforts and ongoing protocol are in the best interest of artists, fans, staff and the global community."
"At this time, we collectively recommend large-scale events through the end of March be postponed. We continue to support that small-scale events follow guidance set by their local government officials," the joint statement, issued on Thursday (March 12), explains. "We feel fortunate to have the flexibility to reschedule concerts, festivals and live events as needed, and look forward to connecting fans with all their favorite artists and live entertainment soon."
Earlier on Thursday, Billboard reported that Live Nation was instructing touring artists to "prepare to return home." The news outlet reports that "a few" shows will go on as planned on Thursday and Friday (March 13), but everything Saturday (March 14) and onward, through the end of March, will be postponed.
"On a call, company executive told employees that March is generally a slow month and that Live Nation will re-evaluate the situation at the beginning of April with the goal of resuming touring in May or June," Billboard says. "Live Nation is not planning any layoffs and company officials told staff it is well positioned to weather the closure."
Per the company's website, Live Nation operates 500-plus festivals and oversees 40,000 concerts per year. One of its biggest country music-focused endeavors is the Megaticket, an annual series of summertime shows featuring big country names.
Internally, all Live Nation staff members are being instructed to work remotely. The company's headquarters, located in Beverly Hills, Calif., will be "mostly closed," Billboard reports, until the end of March.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday (March 11) officially declared coronavirus a pandemic. According to the WHO, more than 125,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in more than 110 countries and territories. A total of 4,615 deaths have been reported worldwide as of Wednesday night.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a travel ban that will go into effect on Friday (March 13) at midnight. The ban only applies for foreign nationals, NBC News explains, not U.S. citizens, green card holders or the families of U.S. citizens. Additionally, Ireland and the U.K. are exempt from the travel ban, which applies only to people, not foreign goods or trade.
During his Wednesday night address, Trump also urged Americans to be cautious with their health: to wash their hands and stay home if they're feeling ill, and to get tested for coronavirus if they think they may have it.
Within country music, artists are doing their part by either postponing or canceling both concerts and entire tours, while festival organizers are both rescheduling and canceling springtime events. Among others, the annual Stagecoach festival, usually held in April, will now take place in October, while Zac Brown Band have chosen to delay the remainder of their springtime tour dates.
Coronavirus Pandemic: What Country Music Events Are Postponed or Canceled (or Not)?