Festival updates: Live Nation looks to summer, Reading & Leeds sell out
Back in December, Live Nation president Joe Berchtold said that he expected major concerts to return by summer of 2021. While Dr. Fauci has since predicted that fall might be a more accurate timeline for live music's return, Live Nation appear to be committed to summer, at least for now. Variety reports that in an earnings call on Thursday (2/25), CEO Michael Rapino was looking towards midsummer to resume business.
"Every day we seem to have a new state or country talking about when they’ll open up, so we’re feeling more optimistic than we were a month ago,” Rapino said. “Lots of artists are calling, looking at how we start up in July, August, September. So for right now, we still believe we’ll have enough open in the U.K., Australia, Canada and the U.S. to keep what we have on the books in amphitheaters booked for now. We might have certain states that might not be ready, but we have enough states and enough artists willing to play the open slots if we get to that level in the right markets. So as long as these states open up to the right capacities, we can start in midsummer and in the southern U.S. we can go all the way into November."
Rapino's predictions come as the British government looks towards June 21 as the date when festivals and nightclubs could resume in the UK, as Billboard reports. Boris Johnson's roadmap for reopening also includes limited capacity indoor shows beginning on May 17.
Tandem UK festivals Reading and Leeds are confident that they'll be able to go ahead with their 2021 editions, scheduled for August 27-29, tweeting, "Following the government's recent announcement, we can't wait to get back to the fields this summer 🎉 LET'S GO." Attendees appear to be on the same page; Music Business Worldwide reports that weekend and day tickets for Reading, and Weekend and Saturday tickets for Leeds, are already sold out, and in the Thursday earning call, Rapino confirmed 100,000 tickets to the festivals had been sold in 72 hours.
Meanwhile, in the US, while some festivals, including Boston Calling and Hangout, have once again cancelled for 2021, others, including Punk Rock Bowling, Governors Ball, Summerfest, and New Orleans Jazzfest, have shifted dates to fall. Still others, Coachella included, haven't announced 2021 plans yet. Stay tuned for more updates.