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Tour cancellations mount over coronavirus surge

The global surge in Covid-19 cases is continuing to wreak havoc on the international live calendar, with a growing number of early 2022 tours cancelled or postponed.

Rod Stewart’s scheduled nine-date spring run in Australia and New Zealand, originally scheduled for 2020, became the highest-profile casualty to date following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

“Live Nation wishes to advise that due to the ongoing surge of Covid in Australia and the reimposition of entertainment venue capacity limits in several states, Sir Rod Stewart’s scheduled March/April tour of Australia and New Zealand has, regrettably, been cancelled,” says a statement.

Stewart says he looks forward to returning to Australia “as soon as the health situation permits”.

Earlier this month, three more Australian music festivals were cancelled or postponed in the space of 24 hours after New South Wales banned singing and dancing at unseated events.

NSW’s Grapevine Gathering fell by the wayside four days before it was due to take place, while touring metal and punk festival Full Tilt postponed its Brisbane edition until the end of April and cancelled its Adelaide concert set for 29 January.

Indoor dance floors at hospitality and entertainment venues in Victoria have also been temporarily closed in a bid to combat the coronavirus spike.

“It feels like a particularly volatile time to go ahead with such a large tour”

UK band Blossoms postponed European tour dates planned for January and February in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, while Wolf Alice opted to reschedule their January UK shows.

“As the Covid pandemic seems to be getting worse and with an overwhelming number of daily cases, it feels like a particularly volatile time to go ahead with such a large tour,” the latter said in a statement. “People’s safety and access to our concerts is of the utmost importance to us and we feel that is something we can’t ensure at these large indoor shows.”

Tightened measures were blamed for the postponement of Little Simz’ European tour, which was due to have visited Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France and Luxembourg before finishing in Austria on 1 February, just five days before it was due to start. Rising star Rina Sawayama also pulled her March European tour due to Covid concerns.

Last week, Dead & Company and promoter CID Presents cancelled their Playing in the Sand destination festival in Mexico less than 24 hours before it was due to take place. The annual event had been set for Riviera Cancun over two weekends from 7-10 and 13-16 January, but has been axed due to a spike in coronavirus cases. Frontman John Mayer had earlier pulled out of the festival after testing positive.

In the US, The Strokes have rescheduled their Barclays Center show – initially set for New Year’s Eve 2021 before Omicron intervened – for 6 April, and Billy Joel has switched his 14 January Madison Square Garden concert to 24 August. The 2022 Grammy Awards, scheduled for 31 January at Los Angeles’ Arena, have also been postponed indefinitely.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands’ live sector’s hopes for a swift reopening appear to have been dashed according to media reports, which suggest cultural venues are expected to remain closed “for the time being”.


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TEG acquires Sydney-based promoter Handsome Tours

Australia-based live entertainment conglomerate TEG is strengthening its domestic position with a majority stake in Handsome Tours, a Syndey-based boutique tour and events promoter.

Handsome Tours has accumulated two decades’ worth of experience in breaking alt-pop, indie rock and hip-hop acts in Australia and New Zealand, promoting tours for artists including Stormzy, Bon Iver, The xx, Phoebe Bridgers and The War On Drugs.

Under the new deal, the company’s executives, Mark Dodds and Colin Daniels, will remain partners. Dodds will continue leadership as the company’s managing director whilst Daniels will assume the role of executive director alongside his ongoing role as managing director of Inertia Music/[PIAS] Australia.

Founding partners Ashley Sellers, Mathew Everett and Justin Cosby will be replaced as board members by TEG CEO Geoff Jones and CFO Sandra Rouse.

“Time and time again, Handsome Tours have showcased their ability to discover new talent and nurture it from the tiniest of clubs to sold-out theatres and arenas,” says TEG’s Jones.

“Handsome Tours have showcased their ability to discover new talent and nurture it from the tiniest clubs to sold-out arenas”

“The team’s passionate work ethic and artist-first philosophy is the perfect complement to TEG’s integrated model, built on client-first technology solutions and customer-first ticketing services.”

Handsome Tours’ Dodds says: “We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with TEG to write the next chapter for Handsome Tours. Handsome has always been known for breaking artists but we’re even prouder of our record of contributing to sustained artist careers.

“Belonging to a world-class group like TEG will empower us to speak to more music-lovers in more sophisticated ways than ever before, delivering bigger outcomes for agents, managers and their talent at every point of an act’s journey.”

Handsome Tours’ recent accomplishments include Gang Of Youths’ ‘Say Yes To Life’ tour, which sold over 50,000 tickets and broke venue records across the country, as well as 2020’s ‘Down To Earth – A Bushfire and Climate Fundraiser’ at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, which raised over AUS$1.4 million for bushfire relief with a line-up including Gang Of Youths, Tash Sultana, Angus & Julia Stone and Thelma Plum.

Concert promotion, ticketing and technology firm, TEG, is headquartered in Sydney and operates out of seven countries worldwide with offices in Australia, New Zealand, south-east Asia and the UK.

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