Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Report: Fans Could Be Back At Concerts This Summer

The concert business is counting on avid fans like to spark a hoped-for restart this summer and fall after a long, painful pause. The Wall Street Journal reports industry executives, who are quick to note their business was among the first to shut down because of Covid-19 and likely among the last to come back, are cautiously plotting a gradual return to live shows as infections appear to subside and vaccination rates rise.

On Live Nation Entertainment Inc.’s earnings conference call Thursday, Chief Executive Michael Rapino told investors the world’s largest concert promoter thinks it can begin staging outdoor amphitheater shows by midsummer. Jay Marciano, chief executive of rival AEG Presents, said he believes full-capacity club and theater shows will be possible this fall. Live Nation, whose fourth-quarter revenue dropped 92% from the previous year, saw shares rise 2% this week through Tuesday to push its 30-day climb to nearly 30%.

The comments reflect growing optimism about the availability of vaccines across the U.S. On Tuesday, President Biden said he expects the country to have enough vaccines for all adults by the end of May. Meanwhile, there are moves by states such as Texas to reopen fully, dropping mask mandates and limits on gathering sizes.

Global revenue from concerts, on a tear before the pandemic, rose to $26.1 billion in 2019 before falling to $6.5 billion in 2020.

“A couple months ago I wasn’t sure if it was even remotely possible,” music manager Emily Lichter said of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre show that Lake Street Dive is slated to play at the end of September in Colorado. “Now I feel like, wow, that could happen.” The alternative pop group’s team is exploring whether it can use that show to kick off a fall tour at outdoor venues.

Jeffrey Hasson, senior agent on United Talent Agency’s Nashville music-leadership team, said he is optimistic that outdoor tours can happen this summer.

“As vaccine rollout and testing capacity increases, and it becomes more socially acceptable to do these things, we’ll start to see fall tours indoors as well,” said Mr. Hasson, whose roster includes Dashboard Confessional, Dayglow, Ruston Kelly and Jamey Johnson.

“Within the next month we’re going to see more and more things announced for summer and fall,” he added.

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