Aug 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

The live events economy steps back

A syringe in the spotlight in front of a red show curtain

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The multibillion-dollar events industry — conventions, concerts and more — is rushing to salvage its restart amid rising coronavirus cases.

What's new: Live Nation, the world’s biggest concert promoter and venue operator, will require performers and attendees to be vaccinated (or show a negative COVID-19 test), at least in states where that’s allowed, the company said.

  • Previously it left the decision on vaccine mandates to artists.

Why it matters: The events sector comeback is pinned on vaccines. But the list of postponements is growing — possibly signaling a false start for an industry in which a full recovery may still be far out.

  • Flashback: The onset of the pandemic brought the live economy to a standstill and left millions who rely on it out of work. The concert industry alone lost an estimated $30 billion in revenue, per one estimate.

Catch up quick: The New York auto show — originally scheduled for this week — is among the in-person events canceled because of the Delta variant.

Between the lines: More than two weeks after music festival Lollapalooza, which attracted roughly 385,000 attendees, 203 (or 0.05%) concertgoers have contracted the virus, a Chicago health official said.

  • Festivalgoers had to show vax proof or a negative COVID test.

What to watch: More in-person events are weighing vaccine mandates (if local governments don't already require it) to make attendees more comfortable.

  • The intrigue: The U.K. last week launched government-backed insurance for the live events sector that would cover costs if gatherings were canceled because of COVID-19 lockdowns down the line.
Go deeper