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Music Festivals Affected By Coronavirus: Coachella, South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, and more

While you read this, you’re probably in quarantine. Whether it be mandatory or voluntary, the world is in a bit of a lockdown. Coronavirus has spread globally more rapidly than experts predicted. Every country has handled this pandemic to the best of their abilities. As of right now, my community in Nashville, TN has asked for people to not gather in large groups and socially distance themselves. This has forced many of our music venues to cease any upcoming concerts they had in the next couple months out of an abundance of caution to not spread COVID-19. These venues are not alone as many establishments made for entertainment are doing the same. It is a pattern in the live music industry, with even major music festivals pulling the plug entirely or rescheduling.

March is the unofficial start to festival season. Typically by mid-month, the summer music festival scene starts to emerge. One of the opening festivals is “South by Southwest” or “SXSW,” as it is more referred to, which takes place in Austin, TX. However, this year's festivities which were supposed to be taking place March 13-22 were officially canceled by the governor of Texas on March 6th. Organizers said they are looking to reschedule but there is no set time frame for when these new dates may be. By far, one of the largest festivals to decide to reschedule was Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, CA. This was probably the most shocking and telling announcement to postpone. With this being one of the first major music festivals of the year, happening April 10–12 and 17–19, and with it being the most widely known by the mainstream population, Coachella officials were the trendsetters in how other music festivals would proceed to respond to COVID-19. Many other festivals have decided to postpone, like Bonnaroo, which does not take place until June 11-14 but has officially announced that they are looking at new dates of September 24-27.

As most major music festivals happening anytime in the next four months have

decided to postpone or cancel completely, fans are left wondering what this means. With Coachella, officials have said that the festival will take place on October 9-11 and 16-18. They have made a statement ensuring customers that all originally purchased tickets will be honored for the rescheduled dates, or ticket holders will be qualified for a full refund if they wish. From what is available online, this seems to be about the average response by all rescheduling festivals. The best advice we have is to just keep an eye on your favorite festival.

If you have already bought a ticket and are trying to decide whether to get a refund, keep this in mind. If they have announced the new dates and they don’t work for you obviously get a refund. But, let's say that these new dates do work for you. Some artists will not/cannot reschedule their festival performances. New contracts are already being made between these festivals and artists, with some artists performing at multiple festivals. With four months of festivals having to reschedule, there could be significant overlap among festival dates, making it impossible for artists to attend all. Artists themselves are delaying many of their tours due to COVID-19; furthermore, as these festivals get underway, artists will also be making up tour dates they missed. This means they may forfeit their spot at festivals to focus on their own tour. If the festival you wanted to go to this year has not announced rescheduling or a cancelation, keep the closest eye on the festival's website and social media. There is no set time when they will announce festival line-up changes, as the world is still fighting and evaluating the coronavirus pandemic.

There could even be a chance that we see festival prices discounted. As we inch closer and closer to dates, some festivals may offer discounted tickets to supplement the loss of festival-goers who are weary of coronavirus. We recommend that you follow the CDC guidelines, approaching your next concert/festival date, to make sure that they have cleared your size gathering.

We hope everyone stays healthy! Please wash your hands. Take this time to rest and recharge.





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