Festivals and Concerts: Gradual Return Around the World

concert in black and white

In the United States, After 460 days without hosting a single concert, Madison Square Garden, the sports arena complex located in New York City in the United States, will open its doors 100 percent on June 20. Since then several concerts and events have continued to take place with the entire population of the United States vacating at a great pace.

The group that has chosen to welcome the nearly 20,000 people expected to fill the Garden arena was the American band Foo Fighters, who will take the stage with their new album “Medicine at Midnight,” released this week.

The last time the band, founded in 1994 by ex-Nirvana’s Dave Grohl, stepped foot in the Garden was in 2018, when they filled the entertainment complex with their “Concrete and Gold” tour.

The return is symbolic for Foo Fighters but is also a milestone of a comeback for the concert and festival industry in the US. No wonder, after the performance in New York, the band will be back on the road with a series of shows in the country, starting with the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 28th. 

In Europe, major 2021 festivals ended up being canceled

Among the big festivals in the old continent, Tomorrowland in Belgium is scheduled for the end of August. No masking or social distancing: a proof of vaccination or a negative covid-19 test is already enough to release the fun without worries. But this Friday (18), the local government announced that, for lack of a decree regulating the maximum capacity of large events, the festival will not be able to take place. Even though the solution seems simple, uncertainty about the event still hangs in the air.

To avoid risks like this, Glastonbury, one of the largest festivals in the UK, scheduled for June 2021, announced the cancellation of the in-person edition already in January. The presentations of Coldplay, Haim, and Jorja Smith, among others, ended up happening “with all due care”, over the internet. A next edition like in the pre-pandemic “old days” was scheduled for June 2022.

In the same month, Barcelona, Spain, hosted Primavera Sound, with shows by Dua Lipa, Tame Impala, Lorde, and even the Brazilian Pabllo Vittar. After the 2020 cancellation, the 2021 edition of the festival was scheduled for June. But already in March, the organization postponed the event again “due to uncertainties about the pandemic restrictions this year.” It is not yet known what life will be like a year from now, but by June 2022, the masks and social distancing are expected to be a thing of the past.

In fact, there are many currently being canceled, something you can see on this site: https://liveforlivemusic.com/news/covid-19-concert-cancellation-tracking/

In Brazil, online shows and postponements to 2022

The wave of postponements for 2022 has engulfed many Brazilian festivals, such as Coala Festival. In 2020, the festival migrated from the Latin America Memorial in São Paulo to the internet.

“We didn’t want the event to be just another life, but, rather, a festival in the digital,” comments Guilherme Marconi, partner of Coala Festival and member of ABRAPE (Brazilian Association of Event Promoters). “For the event, we had signed a contract with channel TNT to broadcast the shows, so we were already thinking about how to make an event with the look of a television program, and not just a filming of the stages,” he comments.

From the 30 thousand people that the event holds in person, the transmissions on YouTube and TNT, added up to 1 million views. With no box office profits, the event had QR codes, so that people could contribute to the event. The sponsors were also present, Amstel, Jameson, Trident and

RedBull, for example, used the delivery application Rappi, for activations with gifts during the festival. 

In September of this year, Gal Costa, Maria Bethânia, Alceu Valença and Rubel will take the stage at the Memorial da América Latina. However, a month ago, Coala Festival announced the rescheduling for September 17 and 18, 2022, at the same place as every year. A relief for some fans, since Lollapalooza was also scheduled for the same weekend this year. 

But gradually new and good news are coming. For example in the UK

The British government has confirmed that the lifting of all restrictions in place in the country, applied due to the covid-19 pandemic, will be lifted on July 19.

With the end of the social distancing rules, live performances and summer festivals, as well as nightclubs, will be able to return to normal as early as next week.

They will all be encouraged to use so-called “covid passports,” i.e. proof that the bearer has been vaccinated against covid-19, has tested negative in a recent test, or has recovered from the disease.

“Covid passports” may play an important role in the planned July 19 reopening

These measures have been welcomed by the British music industry, with Mark Davyd of the Music Venue Trust telling “NME” that safety “remains at the forefront.” “Still, we want to leave live music fans with a simple message: it’s time for a comeback.”

“Help your local venues provide safe events by keeping your personal responsibility in mind: stay safe and do everything you can to make others feel safe too.”

For Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, this is a “landmark” decision after a year in which the industry posted losses of around 85%. “The shows will be able to resume, returning the joy, entertainment and excitement to fans across the country,” he said.