Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The "live economy" — broadway shows, concerts, music festivals and more — is in pandemic purgatory.

What's going on: Some events are getting the green light to restart as vaccinations roll out. But operators in states with audience caps are holding back as they contemplate whether it makes financial sense for the show to go on.

  • California this week will be the latest state to allow concert halls and theaters to reopen — with limits. Capacity can reach up to 50% in the lowest-risk areas, if attendees are tested or show proof of vaccination.
  • Others, like Texas, have not put limits on live event capacity.

The backdrop: The industry was left in financial ruin when the pandemic hit.

  • By the numbers: Before COVID-19, the industry's unemployment rate was 4.7%. It's currently 14.5%, though that's lower than the peak of 47% a year ago.
  • Concert promotion company LiveNation one proxy for the health of the "live industry" — lost $1.6 billion last year. (It was profitable the prior year, making $324 million.)

Driving the news: A small business aid program created for theaters, museums and other performing-arts venues opened on Friday — a first for the sector.

  • But the portal to apply for help closed after a few hours, with the SBA citing technical issues. No word yet on when it will reopen, further delaying aid.

The big question: Whether it's worth it to resume shows with limited capacity. The costs to put on a show largely remain the same no matter the audience size.

  • "Generally speaking, if a venue sells less than 70% of the house, they lose money on the show," says Doug Arthur, an analyst who covers concert company Live Nation at equity research firm Huber Research Partners.
  • The other factor: lack of guidance from states on safety guidelines.

What's happening: Plenty of live events are beginning to pencil in dates this year. The latest: SummerStage music festival in New York said today it will be returning.

  • Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas is set for May, the festival's founder said last week — with details on safety protocols to come.

The other side: Rock band Rage Against the Machine pushed back its reunion tour to next year.

  • Theater producers told the New York Times it's not not "financially feasible" to reopen Broadway shows with restricted capacity.
  • The Coachella art and music festival in California might not return until 2022, the Wall Street Journal reported last week citing an unnamed source.

The bottom line: "The financial model has been flipped on its head," the International Festivals and Events Association's Ira Rosen tells Axios.

  • "If you look at sports venues, they can operate at limited capacity because of their television and merchandise deals. Music festivals don't operate that way."

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.

Democrats open to user fees for infrastructure deal

President Biden sits Thursday with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) as they discuss his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some Senate Democrats are open to paying for a compromise infrastructure package by imposing user fees, including increasing the gas tax and raising money from electric car drivers through a vehicle-miles-traveled charge.

Why it matters: By inching toward the Republican position on pay-fors, some Democrats are bucking President Biden's push to offset his proposed $2.3 trillion plan by focusing only on raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!