Live Nation CEO says 2021 will see a “robust outdoor summer season” for live music

The head of the promotion company is optimistic for next year's festival season

The CEO of Live Nation has said he expects a “robust outdoor summer season” for live music next year.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced festivals around the world to cancel their 2020 editions, with fears over their futures if they can’t safely return in 2021.

Writing in a memo shared with the promotion company’s investors, Michael Rapino said there were positive signs for next year’s summer events already. “Importantly, we remain confident that fans will return to live events when it is safe to do so,” he wrote. “Our strongest indicator of demand is that fans are holding on to their tickets, even when given the option of a refund.”

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Latitude Festival
Latitude Festival (Picture: Getty / Dave J. Hogan)

The message stated that “86 percent” of fans were holding on to their tickets for shows that had been rescheduled, “demonstrating their continued desire to attend concerts in the future despite the current uncertainty”.

Rapino also pointed to the ticket sales for two UK festivals next year as further indicators of a strong 2021 festival run. “Our expectations for a robust outdoor summer season in 2021 are also reinforced by the two-thirds of fans keeping their tickets for canceled festivals so they can go to next year’s show, along with strong early ticket sales for festivals in the UK next summer,” he said. “For example, Download and Isle of Wight are pacing well ahead of last year.”

The Live Nation boss’ comments come after other industry figures have been more cautious about live music’s return. Last month (July 17), Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger said he didn’t think gigs and festivals would return until 2022.

“It’s going to take that long before, what I call, the germaphobic economy is slowly killed off and replaced by the claustrophobia economy – that’s when people want to get out and go out to dinner and have their lives, go to festivals and shows,” he said.

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Meanwhile, UK festivals welcomed the news last month (July 29) that the government would give the emergency funding to help weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.

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