As major tours began rolling out across the country last month, many worried it was too soon and that Covid-19 breakouts could force shows or even entire tours to be postponed or canceled. Over the last few days, those worst-case scenarios have begun playing out as major touring acts have bowed out of shows or shut down tours — in some cases mere weeks into a run.
Over the weekend, Counting Crows postponed performances in Boston and Youngston, Ohio (the former just hours before showtime), claiming a positive Covid-19 case within their “touring party.” New Orleans Jazz Fest announced it was scratching its plans to return this October due to “the current exponential growth of new Covid cases in New Orleans and the region.” Those developments followed on the heels of Limp Bizkit and pop singer Michael Bublé canceling all their August shows, and Lynyrd Skynyrd nixing four shows (in Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama) after guitarist Rickey Medlocke tested positive for Covid-19. Sebastian Bach also announced he had tested positive after several shows and, on Twitter, rattled off a list of where he’d been, including airports in Las Vegas, and Dallas.
After doing 2 shows & going to my wife's High School reunion, I came home & tested positive for covid. Here are the locations I could have got it in any one of these places. Thank God for the vaccine I can't wait to get another one 💉 all symptoms are gone now not canceling shows pic.twitter.com/RHTK9iglC3
— Sebastian Bach (@sebastianbach) August 7, 2021
Days earlier, Fall Out Boy pulled out of their spots on the Hella Mega tour (with Green Day and Weezer) in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. In the case of Fall Out Boy, the name of the infected members of their touring party was not announced.
Health officials are also investigating Covid-19 outbreaks tied to two recent outdoor music festivals in Michigan and Oregon, raising new concerns about the safety of events — even those taking place outside. Meanwhile, artists like Jason Isbell and Japanese Breakfast have enforced vaccine mandates on their upcoming shows.
To some in the business, the news is startling — but not surprising. On message boards devoted to road crew members, many have begun weighing in about their concerns over unmasked audience members and confusion over vaccine-related protocols from state to state. “I was surprised that all of these acts were going out this quick,” says veteran tour manager Malcolm Weldon, who has worked in the past with Pink and others. “But I’m not surprised by this news. Our biggest fear is that the next thing, we’ll start shutting down again.”