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U.S. TOURING GETS BACK ON TRACK

When the CDC said earlier this month that fully vaccinated people may resume pre-pandemic activities, it was an “open sesame” command for the live-music business. Starting today, we’ll chart the action in various sectors.

New tours and festivals as well as rescheduled ones opened their box offices in a flurry in May, led by the rescheduled Green Day/Fall Out Boy/Weezer Hella Mega Tour, hitting 22 stadiums between 7/24 and 9/6.

Of course, some acts and promoters that rolled the dice in April, putting shows on sale that ran the risk of postponement or reduced capacity. But it now appears that a bit of inventive planning and hopeful thinking by mega promoters such as Live Nation and AEG will result in a prosperous July-November touring season. Venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks, The Gorge and NYC’s Radio City Music Hall and renovated Irving Plaza proudly announced their reopenings, and festivals are in full recovery mode as many move to late summer and early fall.

Lead time between on-sale dates and newly booked shows are shorter than we’ve seen in recent years as tickets for a year’s worth of arena and stadium shows almost always go on sale in the first three months of a given year.

Among the acts that saw a potentially maskless future in arenas and sheds without social distancing in 2021 are Dead & Company, Kings of Leon and Phish, who combined postponed 2020 dates with new ones to create a late-July-through-Halloween run with multiple-night stays at 11 venues. Jonas Brothers play 44 dates between 8/20 and 10/27; Korn and Staind play 28 dates in August and September; the Ricky Martin/Enrique Iglesias joint North American arena tour moved to 9/25 through 11/20.

In April, Dave Matthews Band became one of the first major acts to put a July-commencing tour on sale, while Chris Stapleton rescheduled and added to his All-American Road Show, putting tickets on sale in late April and early May for new shows on a run that begins 7/17 and runs until 12/5, with more dates booked for April and June 2022. On 4/29, the super-hot Machine Gun Kelly announced his fall My Downfall Tour, a 28-city trek that begins 9/9 in Minneapolis at the Armory and runs through 10/28 in Richmond, Va.

To be continued…

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