Sometimes, there’s just no way to know what happens next. Image boarding a roller coaster which you have never seen while wearing earplugs and a blindfold. You know something is about to happen, but you don’t know what, when or whether it will be fun or painful. That’s live entertainment in August, 2021.
Dave Wakeman and I spent some time working through all the issues yesterday. It’s always educational to talk with Dave. He’s got broad experience and the confidence to speak the truth instead of ignoring the obvious. Here’s the truth: we’ve got a real situation brewing here. I’m feeling like I did in February 2020. There’s bad news coming. Dave has his own take. We go through it at length in our joint podcast:
Here is our conversation in video and audio podcast format:
I’m not an alarmist, I have tickets for the New York welcome home concert in Central Park on August 21st, BottleRock in Napa on September 3-5, and Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas on September 17-19 plus many others later in the year. I want to go. But, will they go on at all? If they do, are they safe? I’m not so sure anyone has those answers right now.
Today, August 8th, 2021, Stevie Nicks cancelled all her remaining 2021 shows, and pulled out of five headlining appearances: BottleRock, Jazz Aspen Fest, both weekends of Austin City Limits and Jazz Fest New Orleans.
Just this week Jazz Fest New Orleans cancelled their October 8th -17th scheduled event and moved it to April 29th – May 8th 2022.
There are many other artists from Limp Bizkit to Counting Crows who have just cancelled shows or postponed their tours, and many more contemplating what to do.
Meanwhile, both Texas and Florida are experiencing record Covid-19 surges as the Delta variant’s highly contagious nature intersects with the politically motivated culture there to suppress basic common sense, decency and mask wearing.
So, this is the perfect time to head to Las Vegas where Ticket Summit, the world’s largest trade show and conference related to live event ticketing is about to take place. There we can discuss what if anything this industry can do to save itself from incapacity of half this country to recognize that sacrifice for the common good requires everyone to participate. The greatest generation marched off to war with dignity and an ethic which said we do what must be done. Our country was founded on the words of Patrick Henry: “We must all hang together. or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” This generation says “nah, I’m good.” Don’t tell me about your individual rights. What you should do and what you must do are different, but in this situation, everyone needs to pitch in. Want the world to return to normal? Stop the virus by any means necessary. Otherwise it just keep mutating and the variations get better at killing people.
And, yes government can impose rules. You are not required to get a drivers’ license unless you want to drive. But, if you want to drive you must get a license, insurance and educated in how to operate a vehicle. That’s the basic requirement for the freedom of having a car and the right to operate it on the public roads. Want to leave the U.S. and go somewhere on vacation? Cool. Take your passport, which you can only get if you take your birth certificate to the post office or U.S. State department and prove your citizenship. Why get a passport? Every country on the planet requires you have one to enter, and often to leave. Don’t want to get a passport? That’s fine too. But no foreign adventures for you.
Concerts were gone for a year and a half. They’re just starting back up. But, as Covid rises again, more and more artists are postponing their shows out of fear of their own safety. I can’t blame them. Covid attacks your respiratory system. That seems significant for singers, dancers and athletes.
At Ticket Summit we’re going to be talking about all these issues. I’m on the government panel, and you can bet I’ll have a few questions. My friend Dave Wakeman is on the pricing panel. He will be talking about why discounts are bad for your business. That’ll be an interesting discussion as I’ve noticed a drop in sales velocity and a corresponding reduction in prices across the board as the Covid surge gains more attention. Listen, discuss among yourselves, look deep into your soul and decide how you want the future to play out and what you can do to make that happen. Is it a clown show existence of pretending that a global pandemic is a fraud for which you get street credit by denying it exists, or are you willing to take the most minimal steps to stop this disease, protect the future and preserve the ability to get back to having fun in public with others?
I love to travel, be in public, be part of a crowd and go to restaurants and live events. If you feel the same, perhaps think about what you can do to make that safe for everyone. If not, my friends at Rolling Loud are building out cloud kitchens, and I’m sure you can order some fried dough from their new Balls Deep menu.
The world has something for everyone. Let’s try to keep it safe too. Share the love. It’s so much more powerful than fighting over inconsequential differences in ideology.