Live music is back, but you might still have to wait for this arena show: NPR

Hootie And The Blowfish’s Darius Rucker is performing at Bridgestone Arena in 2019. Some artists looking to visit arenas like this are looking to 2024.

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Jason Kempin / Getty Images


Hootie And The Blowfish’s Darius Rucker is performing at Bridgestone Arena in 2019. Some artists looking to visit arenas like this are looking to 2024.

Jason Kempin / Getty Images

The grand reopening of live music is truly upon us. The summer music festival season is almost here. Artists announce tour dates. And the fans buy tickets! Or, in some cases, they finally get the chance to use tickets bought a few years ago. But it may be some time before your favorite arena-level number can hit the road.

“We’re in an interesting place that neither of us have been before,” Gary Gersh said in an interview with NPR. He is the chairman of the world tour to AEG presents, the great live entertainment company behind artists as great as Elton John, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and more. Gersh said AEG’s actions have a long way to go: after 2022, until 2023.

“Everyone, I think, was more careful at the start of the year,” Gersh said. But now, some acts that have pushed their reservations far into the future as a precaution have attempted to come back in 2021. “And it’s complicated because there’s traffic everywhere,” Gersh explained.

Rival AEG Living nation is stuck in the same traffic jam – so many acts trying to play as early as possible, but only so many venues and weekends to play. “We have an incredible offer right now looking to go on tour,” said Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, during a recent episode of the Vox Podcast Recode the media.

“So you’ve got a lot of these artists already looking and saying, I want to come out next fall, maybe next summer, but I know these four bands are going to look a little crowded as well. go out and fall or we will go out in summer [2022] or the fall of [2023]. So I think it’s going to naturally spill over into … [2024]. “

Translated: If you are a country music star and you see that Kane Brown has an arena tour coming up, and you see that Garth Brooks is selling his tour to registration numbers, and Dierks Bentley also pitched his thing, maybe it makes sense to wait a bit to announce your own tour.

There is also the lingering issue of the coronavirus pandemic. Different states, sometimes adjacent, are in different stages of reopening, making it difficult to plan an efficient and well-routed tour. And if you’re planning a tour, but a state goes into lockdown, “you can take the whole tour off,” Gersh said.

Still, the artists can’t wait to perform, hoping things will change. Starr Butler is the Vice President of Reservations and Events at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Butler says as soon as the arena started to open up to 25 and 50 percent capacity, it started getting calls. “We have some days that have four to five takes,” Butler said. She suspects that by the end of the month, she will be planning events for 2025.

AEG Presents and Live Nation said the majority of people who had tickets for shows postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 chose to keep them. And if you’ve already held out for so long, why not wait a little longer? At least that was the reaction My chemical romance Fans had when the band’s long-awaited and already delayed comeback tour was postponed for a second time, until 2022.

“If we had done it later, a lot of the real estate would have been gone,” said Matt Galle, a senior agent at Talent Paradigm Agency, who in addition to My Chemical Romance works with artists such as Shawn Mendes, Janet Jackson and Jojo Siwa. Galle said arenas are much more likely to work with you regarding their sports programming and other live act holdings if “you work further.” For MCR, this has helped them book so far in advance.

But there’s more to an arena tour than just the artist and the venue. “The road crews are going to be stretched, the buses are going to get stretched,” said Gary Gersh of AEG. “It’s going to be complicated. We’re all going to have to work together to make it go really well.”

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