The following article appeared in yesterday’s print edition of The Daily Times in my weekly Rock Music Menu column under the title “Cancellations of Lollapalooza, Coachella and more put nail in 2020 concerts coffin.”
The closer we move to a summer without live shows to experience in person, it becomes more and more likely that the second half of the year will follow suit. The past several days has made that certain with the cancellation and postponement of some of the biggest musical events of the year, and final hopes of music returning to any semblance of normalcy.
This past Tuesday, the city of Chicago announced it would be cancelling all of its special events through Labor Day, including Lollapalooza due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The onetime touring festival has been a summer destination event held at the Windy City’s Grant Park since 2006, drawing more than 100,000 fans annually.
“We wish we could bring Lollapalooza to Grant Park again this year, but we understand why things can’t move forward as planned,” organizers wrote on its website. “The health and safety of our fans, artists, partners, staff and community is always our highest priority.”
The festival also announced that the weekend it was slated to take place, beginning July 30, will now play host to a virtual event featuring performances and sets going back to its inception in the early-90s, some of them including never before seen footage. The full schedule will be revealed next month with the fest hoping to return next year.
Following in Lolla’s footsteps looks to be Coachella, which in early March revealed it would be rescheduling its two consecutive three-day weekends of music and arts in Indio. Calif., just outside of Palm Springs, from April to October. Though the cancellation wasn’t made official yet at press time, Billboard reported Tuesday that it was inevitable that October was off the table too.
Coachella promoter Goldenvoice is apparently waiting to see if April 2021 is even feasible for a smaller scale of the fest to return, or if October of next year will make more sense. And while Lollapalooza hadn’t yet released its lineup, Coachella’s bill was stacked with a reunited Rage Against the Machine, Lana del Rey, Run the Jewels, Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and many more, making the bitter pill that much harder going down.
Almost all of the big package tours for the summer have been scuttled at this point, with one of the highest profile holdouts featuring Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett. Finally, on June 1, all dates of what was simply dubbed “The Stadium Tour” had been postponed to sometime in 2021. “Stay tuned, be safe, and we will see you next year!” the four acts said in a collective statement, giving little indication as to when exactly they would be trying to reschedule. An August 15 date at Citizens Bank Park was one of the casualties of the jaunt.
Now that the two premier destination festivals – alongside the top rock outing of the summer – have finally called it, it seems that the 2020 concert season as a whole, has done the same. Even as regions of the country begin to inch their way towards reopening, any mass gatherings of music lovers don’t appear to be in the cards.
Featured photo of Lollapalooza by Michael Christopher