Thursday, September 9, 2021

Audiences Eager To Return To Live Shows

Live entertainment is back, says Joe Berchtold, president of Live Nation.

CNBC reports the company, which owns Ticketmaster, said 8 million people attended its shows during August, building on momentum from the second quarter, when revenue climbed 677% to $575.9 million compared with the previous year.

“All of our festivals — Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Governors Ball — are selling out faster than ever,” Berchtold said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

“We’ve only had a 2% cancellation rate. That’s gotten a few headlines. But, in reality, our attendance has been great, the shows have continued, the fans are glad to be back.”

Attendance for the rest of the year is expected to continue to track lower than 2019 levels, Berchtold said, but 2022 “will be bigger than 2019 was.” He said the company’s concert pipeline is up double digits from this time two years ago.

Berchtold said the company’s vaccine policy requires audience members to either be fully vaccinated or provide a negative coronavirus test to gain entry to events. More than 90% of the attendees of Lollapalooza were vaccinated, he said. Of those, 12% said they got vaccinated because they wanted to attend the festival.

“We feel it’s our responsibility and part of what we need to do to make sure that everybody can gather safely,” he said.

He said less than 1% of ticket holders are showing up at venues without proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test.

A number of high-profile musicians, bands and even stand-up comics have recently announced amendments to their tours or have outright canceled them. Korean pop group BTS and country band Florida Georgia Line both canceled their tours because of the ongoing pandemic. Michael Buble, Stevie Nicks, Korn, Kiss, and Nine Inch Nails have also amended their performance calendars.

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