Pearl Jam postpones tour due to coronavirus; is Coachella festival next to scratch?

The Seattle-based rock band is still scheduled to perform in Europe for the second leg of the tour, starting June 23 in Frankfurt, Germany.

“As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate,” the band said in a series of tweets. “It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

“Unfortunately, communing in large groups is a huge part of what we do as a band and the tour we’ve been busy planning for months is now in jeopardy…We have and will always keep the safety and well-being of our supporters as top priority.”

A number of local governments have ordered or urged the cancellation of large public gatherings amid the coronavirus outbreak, in an effort to slow its spread.

Last week, punk-pop band Green Day and K-Pop sensations BTS canceled separate upcoming tours in Asia. But pop star Lady Gaga is betting on things dying down by the summer; last week she announced a six-city tour that kicks off July 24 in Paris and wraps up Aug. 19 at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

The music industry is likely to be particularly hard hit by outbreak-forced cancellations. Last week, the city of Austin, Texas, ordered the cancellation of the upcoming South by Southwest festival, which annually draws around 400,000 visitors to a celebration of live music, film, art and technology.

It’s unclear if SXSW will be able to reschedule, and the organizers said that their insurance does not cover a virus outbreak.

“We’ve had to show our insurance policy to all kinds of people, and nobody ever said, ‘Hey, there’s a big hole here,’” South by Southwest co-founder and Chief Executive Roland Swenson told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. “We did not anticipate a pandemic. We’d always taken the attitude of, ‘Well, we’ll never cancel, so that’s not going to be an issue.’”

Another massive festival may be next: The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is scheduled to take place April 10-19 in Indio, Calif., but there are growing indications that it may be canceled or postponed. Three new cases of coronavirus were announced Monday in Riverside County, Calif., where the festival is held, according to the Los Angeles Times. The festival typically draws around 100,000 people a day over six days.

That’s followed by the Stagecoach country-music festival, which draws about 75,000 people and is scheduled just a week later, also in the Coachella Valley.

The nearby BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, which takes place in Indian Wells, Calif., and annually draws about 450,000 people, was canceled Sunday due to coronavirus concerns.

Yashar Ali, a writer for New York Magazine and HuffPost, tweeted late Monday that the Coachella festival would be postponed until the fall.

The New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival — known as Jazz Fest — is also coming April 23-May 3. The event typically draws around 500,000 people over two weekends. As of now, that festival is scheduled to go on as planned, according to New Orleans’s WVUE-TV.

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