Gigs in California unlikely to return until there is a coronavirus vaccine, says Governor

"Large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers... [are] not in the cards"

The Governor of California Gavin Newsom has suggested that live music shows may not be able to be held in the US state until a coronavirus vaccine has been developed.

Newsom’s comments follow on from the grim prediction for the live music industry that was made recently by the US public health expert Zeke Emanuel, who poured scorn on concert promoters who were rescheduling gigs and festivals for later this year.

“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 New York Times-hosted video conference. “Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”


Speaking at a coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday (April 14), Governor Newsom echoed Emanuel’s scepticism over the late 2020 return of the live music and event calendar by saying that “the prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best” in California until a coronavirus vaccine is developed.

“The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine,” Newsom said (0:50 in the above video).

“So large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers, all together across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations.”

Acknowledging that conditions can change “radically”, Newsom then cautioned: “When you suggest June, July, August [for hosting large-scale events], it is unlikely.”


One of California’s biggest annual music events, Coachella, was recently rescheduled from April to October due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of event production companies who are usually responsible for building stages at Coachella have now turned their attention to help build coronavirus triage tents and temporary hospital structures in the US in a bid to combat the deadly disease.

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