The coronavirus has been one of the world’s largest health crises in recent years. It has already affected almost 120,000 people in more than 100 countries, with China, the country where the pandemic started, being the affected the most. In Europe, infections are around 20,000, with Italy at the top, followed by far by France, Spain and Germany. The newspaper El País already talks about “uncontrolled communal transmission” and the governments of different countries are taking containment measures in this regard. There are numerous events that these days are being canceled (or the appropriate action is being evaluated) around the world. One of the most significant, due to global interest, with the enormous number of journeys it requires (which may contribute to the spread of the virus) and the economic impact it entails is that of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which must be held on July 24 to August 9. The International Olympic Committee does not consider suspending the event, but it does postpone it. And is that now, the main objective is to avoid massive movements and large crowds of people in order to contain the expansion of so-called Covid-19. The Valencian Generalitat has already suspended the Fallas 2020, the most popular sports events will be held behind closed doors and in cities like Madrid theaters, cultural centers, sports centers and municipal libraries will remain closed. This being the case, it is worth asking what the effects of the coronavirus are on live music.
What measures are being taken to alleviate the epidemic?
Musical dates can be one of the points where there is a greater risk of transmission due to the large number of people who attract this type of event, especially if we are talking about international groups. Known is the case of the Spark Arena in New Zealand, where a few days ago the Tool group gathered 12,000 people, including a fan infected with coronavirus. For the moment, the scope that this could have supposed has not transpired, but they are undoubtedly common situations to avoid in the coming days. In this regard, the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, announced yesterday (March 10) that in Madrid, Vitoria and La Rioja, considered high-risk areas, activities are suspended in capacity of more than 1,000 people . Measures that replicate those were adopted by France, Italy and Germany, and which the Generalitat de Catalunya has decided to adopt. Likewise, those closed spaces of less than 1,000 people will have to reduce their capacity to a third, in principle, during the next 15 days.
Cancellations and postponements.
Given the exposed measures, many artists and groups have been forced to cancel the performances they had planned for the next few days. One of the most talked-about cancellations has been the Madrid Pop Fest, which was scheduled to take place from March 13 to 15 in the Galileo Galilei room (500 capacity). The organization has seen the celebration of the festival unfeasible with an entrance limited to 165 people. Other festivals such as Marearock and Iruña Rock have also joined this cancellation, and it is not ruled out that in the next few days other events will launch similar announcements. The organization of the Independent Music Awards (MIN) has also been forced to postpone its annual gala, which should take place today, March 11, at the Circo Price in Madrid. At the international level, the most notable postponement is the one that concerns the Coachella 2020 festival, whose organization has moved the celebration from April to October. For its part, the French government has decided to cancel the Tomorrowland Winter 2020 electronic music festival, one more cancellation that adds to others such as Ultra Music in Miami and SXSW (South by Southwest of Austin (Texas). Among the tours, groups and artists such as BTS, Green Day, The National, Avril Lavigne, Queen, Pearl Jam, Madonna or Miley Cyrus are some of those who have decided to cancel their live performances for fear of coronavirus. In this Vulture article you can see a comprehensive and updated record of the different events that are being canceled due to the coronavirus.
The consequences are diverse, with promoters and groups being mainly affected. Insurance does not usually cover these eventualities as unusual, and with the cancellation of the shows the promoter would be the main affected, since they have to return the amount of the tickets and, as agreed, make the artist’s fee effective, although everything depends of the clauses that you collect in your contract. This is how Sympathy for the Lawyer exposes it in a post that must be reviewed:
“Many of the insurance contracts signed until 2019 do not have the pandemic expressly excluded, and therefore, the possible coverage of a cancellation by order of the authorities in the face of the coronavirus will depend on the rest of the exclusions of the policy.” Sympathy for the Lawyer
In this sense, one of the big losers may be Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in the world, as responsible for festivals as renowned as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo in the US, and the Isle of Wight Festival, those of Reading and Leeds in England. In the past three weeks, his shares have fallen 40%, forcing Michael Rapino, the company’s president, to call for investor calm on the pretext that the concert giant doesn’t pay artists until after its release. performance. She did not comment on production costs. Undoubtedly, the cancellation or decrease of ticket sales by the public will be felt in the sector, just as the economic impact that the celebration of many festivals have on cities will be affected. Bad news for the Spanish live music sector, which a few days ago was celebrating a new historical peak, reaching a turnover of 382 million euros in 2019.