Live concerts and festivals may not come back until late-2021

(Image credit: PYMCA/Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Concerts and events, including the 2020 Summer NAMM convention, have been canceled left and right due to the coronavirus, and it appears they may be gone for the foreseeable future.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, bioethicist Zeke Emanuel stated that he doesn’t believe it will be safe to convene in large numbers in public for another 18 months.

“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,” said Emanuel, a vice provost for global initiatives and director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. “I think those things will be the last to return.

“Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”

According to Anne Case, an emeritus professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, this “means there are all these service workers who are not going to find work in the sector they were working in. Losing that for 18 months, that’s enormous.

“Eventually, when the time comes for people to go back to work, I worry that some large fraction of working-class people won’t have work to go back to.”

Music industry workers like Frank Fanelli, former singer of The World We Knew and owner of CAT Clothing, are already trying to raise raising money for those in the touring industry who are out of work due to the pandemic – in Fanelli's case, by selling specially designed t-shirts.

Companies like Ernie Ball and D’Addario, meanwhile, have repurposed their factories to manufacture face masks and face shields.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.