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FESTIVAL FALLOUT:
BYE SUMMER,
HELLO FALL

When this year’s edition of the Glastonbury Festival was canceled, promoters remembering the March 2020 postponements of SXSW and Coachella must have experienced a bit of déjà vu. On Friday, Riverside County health officials declared Goldenvoice's April dates for Coachella and Stagecoach too risky—the festivals were canceled for a third time. If it's not obvious by now, touring in the U.S. before the end of summer 2021 is looking grim.

But the festival landscape is primed for some level of return in the fall. New York City's Governors Ball (produced by Founders Entertainment, which is owned by Live Nation) just announced plans to go up in September (9/24-26) instead of its customary June, and Bonnaroo, also usually a June outing, has been scheduled for 9/2–5. Meanwhile, the 2021 edition of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has been moved to 10/8‐17 from early spring.

Organizers of Coachella were already rumored to be looking at October, and C3’s Lollapalooza, booked for 7/30-8/2 in Chicago, could move as well. While neither of these A-list events has officially announced its 2021 lineup, more than 80% of the artists booked were originally confirmed for the cancelled 2020 editions. (Governors Ball says its lineup is all new; Jazz Fest’s headliners will be different from those of the canceled 2020 installment).

Bucking the trend is San Francisco's Outside Lands; it’s scheduled for 8/6-8 and already has tickets on sale for a lineup that includes Tame Impala, Lizzo and The Strokes.

Riot Fest, like Lollapalooza a large Chicago-based gathering, is scheduled for 9/17–19.

Managers believe there's no rush to announce date changes for some of these festivals; Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, for instance, sell perfectly well on their names alone.

The feeling among artists, managers, agents, promoters, attorneys and others is that while 2021 will offer only marginal gains, it will set the stage—so to speak—for a phenomenal return in 2022.

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