For the international contemporary live music industry

Coronavirus cancellations and now US travel ban

World News
March 12, 2020

AS THE coronavirus Corvid 19 continues to spread, particularly in Europe, governments worldwide are taking unilateral measures to limit the impact on their populations.

Hardly anyone has insurance to cover Corvid 19-related cancellations, which is resulting in very many events considering what to do.

Today’s US ban on flights from mainland Europe and the latest restrictions on public gatherings, including concerts, imposed by countries such as Norway, Israel and France is causing widespread consternation and confusion in the live music sector.

Below we’ve rounded-up some of the major cancellations worldwide and this page will be updated.

Italy’s Government has enforced the toughest measures, banning public events across the whole country. Kelis, Santana, Rex Orange County, Avril Lavigne and Saint Motel are among the artistes who have been forced to cancel shows there.

In France, the Government has placed a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people, forcing artistes to cancel or postpone concerts including Madonna, who was scheduled to play at the Grand Rex (2,800) in Paris on 10 and 11 March.

Similarly, in Switzerland, a ban has been placed on large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people which the Government says will apply at least until 15 March. Avril Lavigne’s show at Samsung Hall (5,000) in Zürich on 13 March was cancelled.

Zurich’s 15,000-capacity Hallenstadion has postponed or canceled five events, including performances by Santana, Peter Maffay and AnnenMayKantereit.

“The resulting financial loss cannot be estimated exactly at the moment. We are in close contact with all the organisers concerned and are working flat out to find alternative dates for the respective concerts,” says Hallenstadion director Philipp Musshafen.

Elsewhere in Europe, the international new music festival and conference Tallinn Music Week in Estonia has been postponed, following recommendations from the Estonian Health Board.

TMW was due to take place between 25 and 29 March across the city but has now been pushed back until 26-30 August.

“While a week ago we believed that by following the recommendations by the Health Board, we could still go on with the festival, the circumstances have now changed,” says Helen Sildna, director of TMW.

In Japan, promoter Creativeman Productions has postponed or cancelled tours with Rick Astley (three shows), A-HA (five shows), The National (two shows) and Green Day (three shows). Among the other artistes who have cancelled shows in Japan are Foals, Ari Lennox, Tom Walker and Temples, while postponed shows include Pixies, Stormzy and Ruel.

In Australia, Miley Cyrus has cancelled her headline performance at the World Tour Bushfire Relief charity concert on riday 13 March at Lakeside Stadium (12,000) in Melbourne.

Organisers TEG Dainty were forced to cancel the one-day event and say fans will receive a full refund from the company’s ticketing platform Ticketek soon. Tickets started from A$116 (US$74).

The Robbie Williams’ concert there on 14 March is still going ahead.

The Australian government has applied travel restrictions to reduce the number of travellers from mainland China, Iran and the Republic of Korea and a travel ban has been implemented for Italy.

In the US, two municipalities pulled the plug on their cities’ music festivals, the South by Southwest Music, Interactive and Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and the Ultra electronic music festival in Miami. It is the first cancellation in SXSW’s 34-year history and the economic damage locally is huge. Last year the festival brought $356 million to the city. Ultra, however, has been postponed until 26-28 March 2021.

Refunds are not being offered to sponsors and badge holders, only credits. SXSW co-founder and chief executive Roland Swenson told the Austin Chronicle, “We have a lot insurance (terrorism, injury, property destruction, weather). However, bacterial infections, communicable diseases, viruses and pandemics are not covered.”

There are cancellation insurance policies for communicable diseases (COVID-19, Asian Flu, SARS) but they are add-ons. Coronavirus could have been included in an event cancellation policy prior to 23 January, a veteran event insurer tells Audience. The additional cost of an add-on would be 10 percent of the sum insured.

Coachella Music & Arts Festival (99,000) and its country music sister festival Stagecoach (75,000), both of which were due to take place next month in the Californian desert, are among the latest events to be postponed.

Coachella will now take place on 9, 10 and 11 and 16, 17 and 18 October. Stagecoach will take place on 23, 24 and 25 October.

Coachella organisers, AEG-owned Goldenvoice, says “While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously. We urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.”

All purchases for the April dates will be honored for the rescheduled October dates.

Seattle natives Pearl Jam has postponed its North American tour. “As residents of the city of Seattle, we have been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate,” they tweeted. “Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses.”

Among the other artistes who have cancelled shows and tours are Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Stormzy, Green Day, BTS, Slipknot, Mabel, Foals, The National, Sam Fender, The Pixies, New Order, Mariah Carey and Bombay Bicycle Club.

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