The New York Times ran a piece featuring a panel of experts over the weekend that paints a graver picture than the optimistic outlook many have for “getting back to normal” once social restrictions are eased while we wait for a COVID-19 vaccine.
One of the panellists, Zeke Emanuel, the vice provost for global initiatives and director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania reckons it’ll be Autumn 2021 before large events will return to normal.
Yes, 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. 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 2021 at the earliest.
If that was to be true, the live music industry would likely never look the same again as promoters, venues, festivals, agents, bookers, bands and DJs would not be able to survive 18 months without any sort of activity.
Meanwhile, a lot of Irish music festivals are currently not cancelled with Body&Soul in June among the events coming up that is still hoping to go ahead. It could be the case that many promoters of festivals are holding off on cancelling or postponing their events due to insurance reasons, to cash flow or in the hope that government sanctions that will disallow festivals to take place will mean they won’t lose everything they had staked on running those events this year. It’s is a grim and unprecedented place we find ourselves in.