One would be hard-pressed to turn on the news or scroll through social media these days without hearing a single mention about the current coronavirus pandemic. It seems that the entire world has been put on pause and people everywhere are looking to world health officials on guidance. One of the many effects of the current worldwide health crisis is the cancellation and postponement of large cultural and artistic gatherings. As a result, music festivals and tour dates around the globe are being cancelled or postponed at an unprecedented rate.
Canadian provinces and US states have followed suit with the rest of the globe in banning gatherings over a certain number of people. The specifics of the ban vary by province and state. As of the writing of this article, the BC government has placed a ban on all events with more than 50 people, as announced by Provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on March 16, 2020.
Over the past few weeks and months, as the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic has escalated, countless musicians have cancelled tour dates and music festivals have been cancelled or postponed.
Among the list of cancelled or postponed music festivals include SXSW (Austin, TX), World Tour Bushfire Relief Concert (Melbourne, Australia), Bans Off My Body (New York, NY), Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Stagecoach Festival (Indio, CA), Tomorrowland Winter (Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski, France) and more. Along with these major music festivals, numerous bands and artists have cancelled or postponed tour dates. Among these include BTS, Green Day, Madonna, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Carlos Santana, Pixies, My Chemical Romance, The Who, Iggy Pop, Action Bronson, Billie Eilish, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Bob Dylan, Mumford & Sons, Tool, Thom Yorke and countless more.
Many of these festivals and tours have been outright cancelled, while a number of them have postponed to a later undetermined date which will depend on how the current COVID-19 pandemic situation evolves. It is difficult to ascertain the magnitude of the cultural and financial impact due to these cancellations/postponements, but the gravity of the situation indicates that the losses will be high. This is an unprecedented event in the history of music festivals and tours. What will follow is as uncertain as the pandemic itself. However, it is important to realize that the cancellation and postponement of these events, while unfortunate, are ultimately key to the curbing of the pandemic and present an opportunity for all music-lovers to exercise social responsibility during a time that is trying for many.
Keep your eye on the UBC website to become informed on the latest developments and for links to emergency health procedures regarding the coronavirus pandemic.