Concerts May Not Return Until 2022, Says Top Touring Exec

The coronavirus pandemic forced many concert tours and music festivals to postpone until 2021, but a top touring executive says…

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Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 20, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic forced many concert tours and music festivals to postpone until 2021, but a top touring executive says he believes live shows may not resume until 2022.

Marc Geiger, who was once the head of music at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME) and is one of the founders of Lollapalooza, gave his opinion on when concerts will return during a recent appearance on The Bob Lefsetz Podcast.

“My guess is late ‘21, more likely ‘22,” he told Lefsetz.

The music executive went on to elaborate on his comments.

“Look, the whole thing is a s— show,” he confessed. “Whether it’s testing or it’s the government, it’s too infinite of a well to go down. But in my humble opinion, it’s going to be ‘22. It’s going to take that long before what I call the ‘germaphobia economy’ to be slowly killed off and be replaced by what I call the ‘claustrophobia economy,’ which is where everybody wants to go out and go back to dinner and have their life and go to festivals and go to shows. And my instinct is that’s just going to take a while because as you can see, these super-spreader events — sports, shows, festivals, anything, the classroom — ain’t going to do too well while the virus is this present.”

He called the current situation a “very long, forced timeout” before acknowledging that there have been situations like this in the past and pointed out that this one is a “biggie.”

“A lot of people see the positives in it, whether it’s climate, whether it’s pollution, whether it’s traffic, whether it’s nature, whether it’s animals, whether it’s our own beings and taking a pause. And I know it’s frustrating, maddening and economically destructive,” he allowed. “But aahhh — this is bigger than us, and if you study history things like this have happened in history and been super-disruptive to normal society. So here’s a biggie for our lifetime.”

Geiger also opened up about insurance policies for promoters and offered his opinion on drive-in concerts.

“Capacity is very small by the time you actually put the cars in. Pricing, with a disconnected experience, is high. The audio I don’t think can be very good yet in the car, but hey. These are temporary stopgap solutions,” he explained. “Garth did a very interesting thing basically as a pay-per-view right to other drive-ins…  I think there’s a feeling that during what I call the germinology economy that almost anything (is appealing) if it’s the first time to get out of the house. So for me, it’s not really a great experience, to be honest. And the economics are broken, so let’s get real. People are doing things to do them, not to make a living, right?”

Click HERE for more with Geiger on The Bob Lefsetz Podcast.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.