So this is DEFINITELY not the news that any of us currently suffering pandemic-inflicted live music blue balls wants to hear right now, but a top dog US health expert is predicting that live gigs won’t start ramping up again til the Australian spring of 2021 (that’s September for those playing at home).
Pennsylvania University bioethicist and professor of healthcare management Zeke Emanuel was tapped for a New York Times expert panel on life post-pandemic, and he reckons he’s got “no idea” how promoters that are currently rescheduling arts and music events for later this year “think that’s a plausible possibility”.
CC: Splendour In The Grass :'(
“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,” Emanuel says.
“Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot 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 (that’s Aussie spring) 2021 at the earliest.”
BRB, just going to cryogenically freeze ourselves for 18 months.
Of course, the current pandemic sitch in Australia is a vastly different story to the US, where New York has quickly become the new global epicentre of the virus, with 1% of the population now infected and the death toll surging past 10,000 in that single state alone.
And though a number of massive Aussie festivals — including Download, Bluesfest and Groovin The Moo — have cancelled their 2020 events, others like Splendour In The Grass have opted to postpone instead.
Splendour is currently slated to go down in October, but it appears as if we’ll be playing the waiting game to find out whether that will indeed go ahead as planned — and if it does — whether any international acts will be able to leave their countries (or, indeed, get into ours) to play it.
UNIFY Gathering organisers have already announced the 2021 instalment of their festival will be an all-Aussie affair, and if we do see social distancing laws relaxed before international travel restrictions, it’s possible we may see more domestic festivals follow their lead.
As always, we’ll keep you updated with more news as it develops.
For now, you can stay tuned to our Coronavirus 2020 Feed for updates.