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 (opens in new tab).

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 (opens in new tab)) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) at the earliest, while last week, Dr Chris Smith said this year “is basically a write-off” for the UK’s live music scene (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.