“The voluntary phase is over. It’s time for mandates...” | Lockdowns & event cancellations...is it last year already?  | The proof that live is making a comeback

“The voluntary phase is over. It’s time for mandates...”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this week that without a vaccination, many establishments, including entertainment facilities, will be off limits. The initiative is being called the “Key to NYC Pass”, but rather than an actual pass, it’s merely a policy that requires proof of vaccination to gain entry. People who wish to dine inside a restaurant, go to the theater, hit up the gym or attend any number of other places will be required to show that they’ve received at least one dose of a vaccine. And that’s to say nothing of the employees.

"no vaccine, no entry" sign

Proof can be in the form of the NYC COVID Safe app, the statewide Excelsior Pass or a paper card issued by the CDC; however, negative COVID tests will no longer be sufficient to head indoors. Cities, states and even organizations across the country are issuing mandates of varying degrees, some requiring full vaccination status and others allowing regular testing in lieu of vaccines.

The policy is expected to take effect the week of August 16th with full adoption and enforcement by September 13th. Therein lies the problem, many businesses are concerned about how to go about verifying the various forms of proof in such a way that won’t disrupt business operations. Others are willing to adopt any solution that helps to avoid another complete shutdown.

Lockdowns & event cancellations...is it last year already?

Event cancellations are still making headlines; this time in Australia. The swift action of the government regarding border closures meant the country was not as affected as the rest of the world, but it appears the tables have turned. As other countries begin to reopen and live events return, Australians are experiencing some of the worst days of the pandemic since it began. The vaccine rollout has been lackluster (only 14% of the population is vaccinated) and things are looking grim as the delta variant continues to wreak havoc. Hard lockdowns have been announced from Brisbane to Sydney and there are concerns they’ll last longer than originally expected.

empty concert stage

The infection rate has remained low throughout the duration of the pandemic due largely to the government’s cautious approach. But, as a result, the live entertainment sector has been hit hard and there’s no sign of relief anytime soon. According to a survey conducted by I Lost My Gig (ILMG), at least 23,000 events were canceled in the month of July alone with more being announced every day. Many industry professionals have been forced to look for work elsewhere and government support has been denied to many. Sound familiar?

The proof that live is making a comeback

It should come as no surprise that Live Nation reported significant year-on-year growth in the Q2 earnings report that was released earlier this week with revenue up 677% from the same period last year. While this sounds like massive growth, the 98% decline reported last year still doesn't put LN ahead of 2019; however, considering much of the world is still not back to normal, this is promising news for the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

live nation building in California

According to the report, the number of concerts scheduled are already 2x the 2019 levels and tours are on the verge of stretching into 2024 to meet demand. Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, has attributed this growth to the “pent-up demand for live events”. Further illustrating his point, June was a record breaking month for Ticketmaster with the highest number of shows going on sale, resulting in the fourth best month for volume.

To summarize, all indicators point to a huge 2022.