Live events consider cancellations, vaccine requirements amid delta
Just as concerts and events started ramping up again, cancellations return as another wave of COVID-19 hits.
Staff video, USA TODAY
During the spring and early summer, Americans enjoyed a brief period of live music and moviegoing before COVID cases started to spike and cancellations rolled in.
In response to the changing circumstances, promoters AEG and Live Nation have announced vaccine mandates for their concertgoers starting in October.
Music festivals such as July’s Lollapalooza in Chicago have experimented with requiring attendees to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. About 200 fans out of 385,000 tested positive in the two weeks after the event began.
With movie theaters taking a hit amid the delta variant and positive COVID tests bringing filming delays, the release dates of many movies have been reshuffled as well.
As the nation heads indoors for the fall, the future of concerts and movies is uncertain. Here’s a list of the notable delays and cancellations.
The comedian canceled several upcoming shows in Florida and Salt Lake City after the venues denied his COVID-19 safety requests, Oswalt announced on Instagram Sept. 8.
Oswalt said he “did EVERYTHING I could to prevent” the cancellation of four Florida shows in December and one Utah show in 2022, but the venues wouldn’t agree to requiring audience members to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 or 72 hours.
“This difficult decision was made due to the rising numbers of COVID cases,” Oswalt said. “I have an ego but my ego is not big enough to think that people should die to hear my stupid comedy. Hopefully in the future we can rebook those, when sanity holds sway again.”
The Doobie Brothers
The Doobie Brothers’ postponed four stops on their 50th anniversary tour after “a member of the touring personnel has tested positive with COVID-19 despite health and safety precautions in place,” the band announced on Instagram Wednesday.
“Out of an abundance of caution, The Doobie Brothers will postpone their four upcoming shows. The band’s shows in Clarkston, MI, Burgettstown, PA, Toledo, OH and Cincinnati, OH will be rescheduled and new dates will be announced shortly.”
The Doobie Brothers plan to resume their tour on Sept. 9 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
The rock band delayed a concert in Pennsylvania Aug. 26 after frontman Paul Stanley contracted COVID-19, his representative Kristen Foster confirmed to USA TODAY. On Tuesday, the band announced bassist Gene Simmons, too, has tested positive for COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the band announced that the next four tour dates would also be postponed. The band’s members will isolate at home for 10 days, with plans to resume the tour Sept. 9 in California.
Stanley, who is fully vaccinated, reassured his fans on Twitter that he is “fine” and shot down rumors that the KISS concert was postponed over heart issues: “I am not in ICU! My heart allows me to do 26 miles a day on my bike! I don’t know where this came from but it’s absolute nonsense.”
“The band and their crew have operated in a bubble independently to safeguard everyone as much as possible at each show and in between shows,” the statement said. “The tour also has a COVID safety protocol officer on staff full-time that is ensuring everyone is closely following all CDC guidelines.”
Florida Georgia Line
“While we’ve been able to see some of y’all at shows recently, everyone’s continued safety has been weighing heavy on us,” the group wrote. “We’re so bummed to have to cancel this tour, but we know in our hearts that we still have to make sure we’re keeping our fans and crew safe.”
Florida Georgia Line closed their message by saying they “can’t wait to be back out when the time is right.”
After initially postponing their Map of the Soul world tour last year due to the pandemic, the Korean pop group is now officially canceling the tour for the same reason.
“Our company has worked hard to resume preparations for the BTS MAP OF THE SOUL TOUR, knowing that all fans have been waiting eagerly and long for the tour,” BTS’ label Big Hit said in a statement. “However, due to changing circumstances beyond our control, it has become difficult to resume performances at the same scale and timeline as previously planned. Therefore we must announce the cancellation of the BTS MAP OF THE SOUL TOUR.”
The Fleetwood Mac singer has canceled all five of her performances scheduled for 2021 because of concerns about rising COVID numbers. Nicks, 73, told fans in a tweet announcing her decision that although she is vaccinated, given her age, she is being abundantly cautious. “Because singing and performing have been my whole life, my primary goal is to keep healthy so I can continue singing for the next decade or longer,” she wrote on Aug. 10.
The 1990s rap rock band announced Aug. 20 that they are canceling their 2021 tour dates for the health and safety of all concertgoers. “In short, the system is still very flawed,” lead singer Fred Durst told Billboard. “Even if the performers, crews, staff and promoters do their best to ensure safety on and behind the stage, that doesn’t ensure the safety of the audience as a whole.”
On Sept. 13, the Canadian singer-songwriter canceled his Austin appearance at the Frank Erwin Center on Sept. 20 after the venue did not accommodate his request for more stringent COVID-19 safety protocols.
Bublé had postponed U.S. and South America tour dates in an attempt to avoid this summer’s surge of infections. “It is better for me to reschedule these shows to a time when all of us are confident that we can relax and enjoy the show,” the singer announced on Aug. 10.
On Aug. 14, Korn announced that singer Jonathan Davis had tested positive right before the band’s Scranton show, which they pushed to Sept. 25. Other tour dates in Northeast cities were postponed until October and shows in Darien and Syracuse, New York, were canceled.
Fall Out Boy
On Aug. 4, Fall Out Boy pulled two shows in New York City and Boston from their Hella Mega tour with Green Day, Weezer and The Interrupters after a member of the band’s team tested positive.
“It’s important to note that everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, are fully vaccinated,” Fall Out Boy wrote on Instagram. “Each band and their crew have operated in a bubble independently to safeguard everyone as much as possible at each show and in between shows.”
The American rock band canceled four shows this August after guitarist Rickey Medlocke tested positive for coronavirus. The band also postponed an Aug. 13 concert in Atlanta until Oct. 23.
On Aug. 18, the country music superstar canceled the next five shows on his stadium tour. “In July, I sincerely thought the pandemic was falling behind us. Now, watching this new wave, I realize we are still in the fight and I must do my part,” Brooks said in a statement.
The singer/songwriter has withdrawn from the sold-out Farm Aid concert, where he was set to perform alongside Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews on Sept. 25.
“My soul tells me it would be wrong to risk having anyone die because they wanted to hear music,” he wrote in a message posted to the Neil Young Archives site. “All you people who can’t go to a concert because you still don’t feel safe, I stand with you. I don’t want you to see me playing and think it’s safe now.”
COVID-19 encore: Concert venues, artists, festivals adjust to keep live music alive
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which was scheduled to run Oct. 8-10 and Oct. 15-17, has been canceled in response to the overwhelming rise in Louisiana’s COVID cases. The festival, which had already been postponed from spring, will offer ticketholders refunds and rollovers to next year’s event, which is scheduled for May.
“In the meantime, we urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials, so that we can all soon experience together the joy that is Jazz Fest,” the announcement read.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has canceled all its 2021 events and entertainment options, including the rodeo competitions, after already being delayed until May to accommodate the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
President and CEO Chris Boleman announced on Feb. 3: “While we were optimistic that moving our Rodeo to May would provide a better opportunity to host our annual community event that Rodeo fans have come to love and expect, unfortunately, it has become evident that the current health situation has not improved to the degree necessary to host our event.”
Gulf Coast Jam
The Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam music festival, which successfully hosted country music lovers in Panama City Beach, Florida, this June, has postponed its Labor Day event until June 3-5, 2022.
In the release announcing the delay, organizers cited Bay County, Florida’s surge in cases this summer and promised ticketholders rollovers and refunds.
Coachella and Stagecoach
In January, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach country music festival, which were scheduled for April, were canceled.
The announcement marked the third time the Coachella festival was canceled because of the pandemic. “We look forward to when the events may return,” Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser wrote.
The outdoor music festival in Rothbury, Michigan, was canceled for the second year in a row this April and postponed until 2022.
“We must balance our optimism with realism – and we must respect the process in place, the efforts underway, and the sacrifices we’ve all made over the last year in an effort to keep each other safe,” the announcement read.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’
The sequel to Tom Cruise’s 1986 classic, which has been pushed back multiple times by the pandemic, is now scheduled for May 27, 2022 during Memorial Day weekend.
‘Mission: Impossible 7’
“Mission: Impossible 7,” which was initially delayed from Nov. 19, 2021 to May 27, 2022, is now scheduled to be released on Sept. 30, 2022. That pushed “Mission: Impossible 8” from a Nov. 4, 2022 release to July 7, 2023.
The fourth and possibly final installment of the “Jackass” franchise, which was originally supposed to be released October 22, 2021, has been pushed to February 4, 2022.
The release of the sequel to the 2009 blockbuster has been pushed from December 2021 to December 2022. All aspects of production have been delayed by COVID, according to a letter released by director James Cameron.
“As many of you are aware, due to COVID-19, we were forced into an unexpected lengthy delay in starting the live action filming we are currently doing in New Zealand,” he wrote. “What most of you likely do not know is that the pandemic is still preventing us from being allowed to recommence most of our virtual production work on stages in Los Angeles.”
“The Batman,” a new take on the Dark Knight starring Robert Pattinson, has been postponed from Oct. 1, 2021, to March 4, 2022, following a series of delays after cast members tested positive for COVID.
‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’
The family-friendly live action adaptation was set for release Sept. 17 but has been delayed to an as-yet undetermined date.
‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’
In a domino effect of Marvel delays, the premiere of the “Doctor Strange” sequel has been pushed from November 2021 to March 25, 2022. It was originally set for release in May 2021.
“Dune,” the star-studded movie adaptation of the sci-fi classic, was originally scheduled to premiere December 2020 but was delayed until Oct. 1, 2021, and then pushed again to Oct. 22 2021.
The release of the horror reboot was pushed from October 2020 to October 2021, delaying its already scheduled sequel “Halloween Ends” a full year as well, until October 2022.
‘Jurassic World: Dominion’
“Jurassic World: Dominion,” the sixth installment of the blockbuster franchise, was postponed from June 11, 2021, until June 10, 2022.
‘The King’s Man’
The sequel to the “Kingsman” series has been continuously delayed from the original February 2020 release date until September 2020 and then again until Dec. 22, 2021.
‘Minions: Rise of Gru’
The release of “Minions: Rise of Gru” has been delayed a full two years from its original July 3, 2020, release date, to July 1, 2022.
‘No Time to Die’
The 25th James Bond movie was originally scheduled for release April 2020 but has been delayed a third time until Oct. 8, 2021.
‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’
The “Shazam!” sequel will now premiere on June 2, 2023, a year after its original June 3, 2022, release date.
‘Thor: Love and Thunder’
In a series of delays to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fourth “Thor” movie was moved from its original Nov. 5, 2021, release to Feb. 11, 2022, and then again to May 6, 2022.
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’
The “Venom” sequel will now come out on Oct. 15 instead of Sept. 24. This is the third delay to the release, which was initially scheduled for Oct. 2, 2020.
Contributing: Charles Trepany, USA TODAY; Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Deborah Sengupta Stith, Austin 360