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Live Nation look to 2021 to resume "full scale" concerts - will explore fan-less and drive-in shows

(Image credit: Ollie Millington/Redferns - Getty)

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread havoc within the live music scene this year.

The vast majority of tours and festivals that were planned to take place throughout spring and early summer have either been postponed or cancelled.

Last week in a quarter earnings call, Live Nation’s CEO Michael Rapino laid out a range of ideas about how the live music industry could open up again, saying that although some arena shows could resume later this year, the company were looking at the third and fourth quarters of 2021 to be back at “full scale.”

Rapino said (via Variety) that Live Nation would be starting “slow and small” over the next six months, and added that where it’s safe to do so, “We’re going to dabble in fan-less concerts with broadcasts and reduced-capacity shows.”

He continues: “There are a lot of great artists that can sell out an arena, but they’ll do higher-end theatres or clubs. So you’re going to see us in different countries, whether it’s Finland, Asia, Hong Kong – certain markets are farther ahead.

“Over the summer there will be testing happening, whether it’s fan-less concerts, which offer great broadcast opportunities and are really important for our sponsorship business, drive-in concerts, which we’re going to test and roll out and we’re having some success with; or reduced-capacity festival concerts, which could be outdoors in a theatre on a large stadium floor, where there’s enough room to be safe.

“We think in the Fall, if there are no second hotspots, you’ll see markets around the world reopening. Europe, specifically, has talked about opening up 5000-plus crowds in September.”

Rapino added: “I think in the Fall you’ll see more experimenting and more shows happening in a theatre setting, into some arenas. And then our goal is really to be on sale in the third and fourth quarters for 2021 at full scale.”

In April, bioethicist Zeke Emanuel said he didn’t think concerts and sporting events would resume until the autumn of 2021 at the earliest, while last week, Dr Chris Smith said this year “is basically a write-off” for the UK’s live music scene.