As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases — and related deaths — continue to climb across the globe, the presumed date for when lifestyles and business operations will resume as normal keeps getting pushed further and further into the future. People are adjusting to the idea that they have to stay at home for months rather than weeks, and the impact of this prognosis ripples throughout nearly all sectors, including the music industry.
Initially, artists, venues and concert promotion companies assumed that coronavirus would put a hold on operations as usual for the duration of springtime, and tentatively planned to reschedule events for the early summer. Though the first Red Rocks summer show is still slated to occur on May 13 — Russ will headline — many fans and music industry professionals feel that the chances of May, June and even July concerts happening are rather low.
Many spring tours that were suspended due to the pandemic are now in a limbo of indefinite postponement. This includes tours by Pearl Jam, Adventure Club and Grace Potter. Musical acts are unwilling to outright cancel these shows out of hope to fulfill a promise to their fans, yet they’re (perhaps wisely) unwilling to nail down a definitive reschedule date when the course of the outbreak is so uncertain.
[UPDATE April 2 at 2:52 p.m. The Global Dance Festival at Mile High Stadium, an event scheduled for July 10 – 11, is now canceled due to COVID-19. This reflects the estimated longevity of the pandemic’s impact on the music festival economy.]
Some artists, however, don’t see the benefit of such ambiguity and canceled their tours outright. Justin Bieber is one of them. On April 1, he canceled his entire “Changes Tour,” which was originally set to begin in Seattle on May 14 and touch down in Denver at Mile High Stadium on June 13. On March 8 — the same day South by Southwest was canceled — the Biebs downsized the show’s venue to the Pepsi Center (though Billboard said this was due to low ticket sales rather than an effort to mitigate crowds).
The health and safety of my fans, team, cast and crew is the most important thing for me. The world is a scary place but we will all figure this out together. We held on to these dates as long as we could and I cannot wait to see all of you in person as soon as I can. Be safe pic.twitter.com/poFd9pQGSN
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) April 1, 2020
As Beliebers and his overly-invested haters will remember, the Canadian pop star is not a novice when it comes to cancelling tours. In 2017, he cancelled 14 of his “Purpose Tour” shows — including Denver’s date — and effectively went into a career hiatus for several years after. It looks like 2020 won’t see his return to the Rockies.
Another act that’s canceled, rather than postponed, their tour and the ensuing Front Range show is the indie-pop band Of Montreal, who was set to play the Gothic on March 29. A handful of local musicians were also led to definitively cancel their regional tours, including Neoma, Tenth Mountain Division, Slow Caves and Float Like a Buffalo. It remains unclear whether they’ll have the chance to replicate these opportunities in the future.