The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


Mixed fortunes for live events as Covid-19 spreads

Events in Japan, the US and France are the latest to fall foul to coronavirus, while promoters and agents in the UK and Germany repeat intention to carry on as usual

By Anna Grace on 09 Mar 2020

Mixed fortunes for live events as Covid-19 spreads

The 2020 edition of Tomorrowland Winter is no longer taking place

image © Tomorrowland/Facebook

The live music industry is being affected differently in markets around the world by the continuing spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), with over 110,000 cases now reported worldwide.

Politicians in the UK today (9 March) reiterated that there was no need to cancel large events to prevent further spread of the virus.

At the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) last week, top agents expressed their resolve to carry on with business as usual, with CAA’s Emma Banks saying the agency would not take shows off sale “unless we have to”.

Reacting to a suggestion from Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn that all events over 1,000 capacity be cancelled due to Covid-19, DEAG today announced that “all events will be carried out according to scheduled dates regardless of the number of participants.”

“DEAG will carry out a responsible analysis of each event in close coordination with the respective artists, their partners and of course the local authorities and will make an appropriate decision on a case-by-case basis,” reads the statement.

A spokesperson from German powerhouse CTS Eventim, which operates in 15 markets across Europe, states that Covid-19 is having only “isolated effects” on its business, such as in Italy and Switzerland.

“The majority of our events and functions take place in the summer and in the second half of the year,” continues the Eventim spokesperson. “Based on the current situation, there is no reason to believe that the major festivals will not be held outdoors in the summer. We cannot observe an increased return of purchased tickets.”

“Based on the current situation, there is no reason to believe that the major festivals will not be held outdoors in the summer”

The Italian government recently extended its ban on all public gatherings in the north of the country until 3 April, whereas all events in Switzerland over 1,000 capacity have been banned until 15 March, in a measure deemed “disproportionate” by Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA).

In France, a ban imposed on events over 5,000 capacity led to the cancellation of Tomorrowland Winter, set to take place from 14 to 21 March at the Alpe d’Huez ski resort.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform you that the French government has decided to cancel this year’s edition,” reads a post on Tomorrowland Winter’s Facebook page.

“The French government is taking drastic measures regarding the Covid-19 virus in France. Therefore they are enforcing the cancellation of large events, bringing together people from different nationalities on closed festival grounds and event locations.”

Asian tour dates by international acts including Avril Lavigne, Green Day, BTS, Mariah Carey, Stormzy and Khalid are among those to have been called off amid coronavirus concerns.

A joint statement issued by Japanese music bodies reads: “We have decided to cancel or call off the majority of shows, following a recent request to cancel or postpone events from the government.”

The bodies, including Japanese promoters’ association (ACPC), federation of music producers (FMPJ) and association of music enterprises (JAME), state they will work to provide all the appropriate information to the public and “deliver high-quality entertainment again soon”.

Events in the United States have also taken a hit recently, with the cancellations of Austin showcase festival and conference SXSW and the Miami edition of EDM event Ultra Music Festival.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.