Health expert claims live shows unlikely to return before autumn 2021

(Image credit: Ollie Millington/Redferns - Getty)

Like all of us, the world of music is currently in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Most tours that were due to take place throughout April and May have either been cancelled or pushed back to later in the year – with some, like Queen and Adam Lambert’s Rhapsody tour – now rescheduled for 2021.

And according to bioethicist Zeke Emanuel, that’s could be the way forward, as he thinks large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events won’t resume until the autumn of 2021 at the earliest.

Emanuel, the vice provost for global initiatives and director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, was involved in a round-table discussion with the New York Times about the current situation (opens in new tab)– and while he hopes restrictions could begin to ease in the US from June, live events “will be the last to return.”

He says: “Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back. Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain 6ft distances are more reasonable to start sooner. 

“Larger gatherings – conferences, concerts, sporting events – when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. 

“I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest. Restaurants where you can space tables out, maybe sooner.”

Emanuel adds: “In Hong Kong, Singapore and other places, we’re seeing resurgences when they open up and allow more activity. It’s going to be this roller coaster, up and down. The question is: When it goes up, can we do better testing and contact tracing so that we can focus on particular people and isolate them and not have to reimpose shelter-in-place for everyone as we did before?”

While the current situation is creating havoc in the industry, artists and labels have been coming up with a range of ideas and initiatives to provide support during the crisis (opens in new tab).

Here are 16 ways you can support the musicians, record stores, venues and music shops you love (opens in new tab).

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.