As the world still reels from the shock of the Coronavirus Pandemic the prog rock legends Journey become the latest band to cancel their touring schedule for 2020. In a joint statement the band announced:
“There is no greater thrill for us than playing for our incredibly devoted audience, but their safety must come first. Having seen what the world has endured during the last 45 days, and not knowing what the rest of this year or 2021 will bring, we knew the right thing to do was to make sure our fans’ health was not put in jeopardy and to provide immediate access to refund options given the unexpected events caused by this terrible virus. We would like to thank all doctors, nurses, police, other first responders and essential workers for their heroic efforts; as well as our fans for doing everything possible to stay safe. We would also like to send The Pretenders our best wishes and hope to see them in the future. We will see everyone again as soon as it is safe to tour, and we will share that news as it becomes available. In the meantime, please Don’t Stop Believin’ in the wonder of life and in each other.”
For music fans this only leaves a handful of festivals still going ahead, but for how long? With restrictions likely to still be in place up until Christmas live venues will be far down the list of businesses that the government will be looking to re-open. Certainly it’s looking like there won’t be any big open air events this summer. Glastonbury, Download, Boomtown, and Bloodstock have all now postponed. We can only speculate that it’s a matter of time before the rest of the big open air events follow. There are still a handful of indoor festivals in the 2020 calendar, many rescheduled from earlier in the year, but with restrictions likely to still be in place these are looking increasingly likely to be forced to reschedule for a second time. For the foreseeable future our live events will continue to be virtual.
This year has not been a good one for music. By the time this pandemic is over we will be looking at a very different music scene to that which we had. Many venues may not make it. Many bands may not make it. We are already seeing bands changing their line-ups as internal stresses have been revealed by lockdown, and in some cases bands are having to deal with the loss of members due to the virus itself. But the music scene has always pulled together, and what emerges from this darkness will be stronger for it. The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic gave rise to the birth of jazz and the Roaring Twenties, and the response of fans today give us hope that the decade to come will also see an explosion of live music. Already 2021 is looking packed with events, and with work already on the way towards a vaccine it’s looking good for next year’s festival season.
Anyone planning to see an event in 2020 though really would be planning a journey to nowhere.