Lollapalooza co-founder and former William Morris Endeavor talent agency global head of music, Marc Geiger, has an unfortunately bleak outlook on live music’s future.
On The Bob Lefsetz Podcast, Geiger breaks our hearts: he doesn’t believe that concerts and outdoor festivals will (and can) resume until 2022.
He elaborated by saying:
“Whether it’s testing or the government, it’s too infinite of a well to go down. But in my humble opinion, it’s going to be 2022. It’s going to take that long before what I can the ‘germaphobic economy’ is slowly killed off and replaced by the ‘claustrophobia economy’ which is where everybody wants to go out and go out to dinner and have their lives, go to festivals and shows.”
I doubt he is wrong; if anything, Geiger would want to be optimistic about the pandemic, considering he co-founded one of the largest music festivals in America.
Geiger called such occasions, like Lollapalooza, “super-spreader” events — under this umbrella he included shows, festivals, and sporting events. Until we tame the virus, Geiger thinks the potential to host some of these experiences will be subject to a “very long, forced timeout”.
Not to mention that insurance for potential super-spreaders will be nearly impossible to get — according to Geiger, “the insurers are sitting on the sideline because there’s infinite liability”.
Considering Major League Baseball games started up in mid-July (albeit with no fans in attendance), it felt as though the world was returning back to normal — so this is definitely not the promising news we wanted to hear.
Our friends across the pond, the residents of England, are pretty thrilled with their concert-related situation, though. After August 1, music and culture industry events can occur in indoor venues. Let’s get it together, America!
The coronavirus pandemic caused the music landscape to adapt in whatever ways it could. Many (smaller) concerts across the country have become drive-in concerts — Geiger referred to these as a “gimmick”. He further explained that sentiment below:
“Capacity is very small by the time you actually put the cars in. Pricing with a disconnected experience is high, the audio I don’t think can be very good yet in the car. These are temporary, stopgap solutions. I think there’s a feeling during what I call the ‘germaphobic economy’ that almost anything will sell because everybody is dying to get out of the house…For me, it’s not really a great experience, and the economics are broken. People are doing things to do them, not to make a living.”
Geiger is right — everybody is dying to get out of the house. So, if you want to enjoy life as you once did before, wear a mask for the next three months. We can talk about going to concerts and festivals after the states-wide coronavirus spikes disappear.