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Concerts cancelled over coronavirus concerns

‘Many more cancellations to come’: Promoters in China explain how the coronavirus has affected live shows as public health fears mount

By Anna Grace on 30 Jan 2020

Concerts cancelled over coronavirus concerns

Andy Lau is among artists to cancel upcoming shows in the region

image © Huandy618/Wikimedia Commons

A number of live shows in China, Hong Kong and Singapore have been called off or postponed in recent weeks over fears related to the spread of the coronavirus.

Over 7,700 cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been confirmed in China, with the death toll now standing at 170. The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, is believed to have spread to 22 countries, including Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, France and the United States.

“There have been a couple of cancellations already, and I’m sure there will be more to come,” Archie Hamilton of Shanghai-based promoter Split Works tells IQ, explaining that mass gatherings were cancelled over the Chinese New Year and schools and businesses closed in an attempt to contain the virus.

“I imagine this will continue into March,” says Hamilton, who notes that Split Works is “monitoring the situation closely” due to upcoming tour dates by Stereolab and Mika in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hangzhou.

Zhang Ran, director of international business at Modern Sky, tells IQ that the promoter cancelled a number of shows in February “to avoid both artists and audiences getting affected by this virus”, adding that all fans received full refunds.

“We have updated artists that are coming for tours in March with the virus situation,” continues Zhang. “We will see how it goes for the next few weeks and see if we still can do these shows.

“From the artists’ side, most totally understand the situation – some of them agree to postpone the tour and for those who find it difficult to postpone, they are willing to refund the show fee.”

“From the artists’ side, most totally understand the situation”

Shows by US rock band X Ambassadors in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Chengdu, as well as concerts by Japanese rock group Suchmos, are among those to have fallen foul to the virus.

Acts playing outside of China have also called off shows. Canto-pop star Andy Lau recently pulled 12 concerts at the 12,500-capacity Hong Kong Coliseum, with organisers citing health and safety concerns. Lau is currently scheduled to perform in the city of Wuhan in April. It is unclear if the show will go ahead as planned.

Upcoming shows by K-pop acts Taeyon and NCT Dream have also been postponed due to “coronavirus proliferation concerns”. Promoter One Production, which was last year acquired by Live Nation, states that it “will continue to act on advice from the authorities on the coronavirus and take precautionary measures in line with prevention efforts.”

Live Nation have also cancelled a show in Singapore, by singer Miriam Yeung, “due to the current freight and travel conditions in China”.

Although the virus was discovered at an early stage and could be “fully under control very soon”, Modern Sky’s Zhang predicts it may take “at least six months to get the whole industry back on track,” adding that some artists that have shows scheduled for as far ahead as April are looking to postpone the whole Asian leg of their tour.

“This is a fight between humans and a virus,” says Zhang, “and I don’t think we have any other option.”

Photo: Huandy618/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)


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