Coronavirus: Healthcare expert predicts concerts and festivals will not return until autumn 2021

"I think those things will be the last to return"

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, festivals and concerts will likely not return until autumn next year, an American healthcare expert has predicted.

In a recent roundtable discussion, hosted and transcribed by the New York Times, bioethicist and professor of healthcare management Zeke Emanuel says he has “no idea” how promoters that are rescheduling arts and music events for later this year “think that’s a plausible possibility”. Read the full video conference transcript here.

“Larger gatherings – conferences, concerts, sporting events – when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return,” Emmanuel said in the video conference.

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“Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”

Several music festivals around the world – including BST Hyde Park, Glastonbury and Governors Ball, to name a few – have cancelled their 2020 events.

However, some festivals have postponed them to later in the year. These include Coachella, which pushed its April events to October, the South American editions of Lollapalooza, J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival, Live at Leeds Festival and more.

When discussing re-opening the American economy as a whole within the next few months, Emanuel said he was not “wildly optimistic”, as consistent, nationwide shelter-in-place policy and quicker testing practices haven’t been introduced yet.

“Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a worksite that allows people who are at lower risk to come back,” he said.

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“Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot distances are more reasonable to start sooner.”

Last month, the Music Venue Trust told NME that they were in need of £1million in donations to save grassroots music spaces effected by ongoing coronavirus closers and prevent “a disaster that will last 10 years” – and called upon successful artists and the music industry at large to help.

Donations to the Grassroots Music Venue Crisis Fund can be arranged by contacting Beverley Whitrick at beverley@musicvenuetrust.com, by calling 07809 155388, or by visiting their GoFundMe page here.

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