Adjusting to a business landscape shaped by COVID-19 concerns has forced festival organizers and others hosting large-scale outings to postpone their events to the fall of 2020 or later. One health expert believes it’s overly optimistic to plan for any such gathering to take place sooner than the fall of 2021, however.
Zeke Emanuel, a bioethicist and director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Healthcare Transformation Institute, headed up a group that formulated a “National and State Plan To End the Coronavirus Crisis” earlier in the month. A week later he spoke with The New York Times about their findings, explaining that various activities must be resumed in stages – the last of which would include festivals.
“Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility,” Emanuel said. “I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Movement Electronic Music Festival are among such events. The former had been rescheduled from April 10th-19th to October 9th-18th, and the latter from May 23rd-25th to September 11th-13th.
Music festivals were some of the first economic casualties of lawmaker response to the aggressive spread of the novel coronavirus. Ultra Music Festival, Tomorrowland and EDC Las Vegas also postponed or canceled their 2020 events over the past several weeks.
Emanuel and the other panelists also discussed how a surge in unemployment could result in a separate spike in death toll, and how other countries easing restrictions had resulted in new outbreaks, in addition to other subjects.