Will Concerts Return in Summer 2021? Live Nation’s President Seems To Think So
Music fans are eager for in-person concerts to return. And news of an imminent COVID-19 vaccine — it's already rolling out in some countries — has given some hope that they could reappear sooner than later.
One of those people is Live Nation president Joe Berchtold, who's estimated a summer 2021 comeback for outdoor concerts. The executive indicated as much in a Monday (Dec. 7) chat with CNBC's Squawk Alley.
That beats earlier predictions that fall of next year would be the earliest that live gigs could return in earnest, a guesstimate floated in April by at least one health expert and California governor Gavin Newsom.
The improved outlook is undoubtedly due to news that two vaccines that fight coronavirus disease 2019 — one from Pfizer and BioNTech, another from Moderna — seem to be well on their way to inoculating large groups of people worldwide, as the New York Times reported. Health regulators in Canada and the U.K. have already approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in their countries, as AP News pointed out. An answer from the U.S. FDA regarding that same vaccine's approval for Americans should arrive soon.
Such an expectation was clearly on the mind of Live Nation's president this week.
"We start to see with much greater clarity what the path to return to live is, and certainly a lot of confidence about that return to live," the executive explained to CNBC's Julia Boorstin, as reported by Spin.
Berchtold continued, "In the key U.S./Western European markets, it continues to be our expectation that by next summer, we're back with our major outdoor shows — our amphitheaters here in the U.S., festivals globally. We'll be able to do those shows."
What he didn't directly address, however, was if Live Nation plans to require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test for entrance into concerts. Last month, that idea made headlines when Ticketmaster proposed a scenario where attendees would have to provide such documentation.
Instead, Berchtold pointed to "local market health official rules" as the deciding factors in which concertgoers can attend future shows. He added that "in general, it's our expectation that by that point that won't be necessary just given the great progress that we've had on the vaccine."
Since the pandemic started, basically all live music and concert tours have ceased. In their place, many artists have begun hosting virtual livestream shows. In September, a survey of live music professionals showed that 54 percent of them didn't think full-capacity concerts would return in 2021. Months earlier, Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger said he didn't believe concerts would return until 2022.
Even still, it's yet to be seen what concerts will actually look like once they do return.
Live Nation's Joe Berchtold Talks to CNBC's Squawk Alley – Dec. 7, 2020
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