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The Farr Side column: To tour or not? Artists take varied approaches

David T. Farr
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If you’re like me, your summer concert plans are up in the air.

Will live shows be canceled? Postponed? Can I get a refund?

These aren’t silly questions to ponder. Music-lovers take going to shows seriously. It’s one of the best experiences to see your favorite artist perform live.

But safety always should come first. Coronavirus has thrown a wrench into almost everything. Gathering of large groups means the risk is increased. And, with so many unknowns yet about COVID-19, those risks need to be seriously evaluated.

Billboard estimates concert ticket-holders spent almost $3.5 billion for concert tickets and festivals for this summer. That’s a huge chunk of change. Most events have been tabled until at least June and some have been scrapped altogether.

I’ve been following this closely, considering I’m in possession of a few tickets to some amazing shows. Taylor Swift was one of the first artists to call it quits on the tour trail until next year. Swift’s “Lover Tour” was expected to be the year’s biggest. You can bet she took this news hard, but she also understands it isn’t worth the risk of people getting ill or dying. The ability to spread such a virus in mass gatherings is quite high, according to most health officials. Swift opted to offer refunds to ticket-holders.

Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams also dropped their collaborated concert touring events. Like Swift, they took the high road and are refunding ticket costs. This was a much-talked-about tour that several of my friends were interested in attending.

Elton John went about things a little differently. He postponed his sold-out Farewell Tour until 2021, in which he will honor the dates for the show. I think that is an OK option, but that’s money some ticket-holders could use right now.

Several other major artists haven’t made a decision about touring. I have tickets to see Janet Jackson in Detroit in July, but I may have to make a decision on my own whether to attend. Detroit remains a hot spot for coronavirus.

On the other side of this are venues that have multiple shows booked each week, requiring a lot more work in handling these decisions. Most are operating with limited staffing to accommodate rescheduling of artist events, offering optional shows in replacement of canceled shows and the processing of refunds.

My best advice is to keep checking the ticket venues for possible cancellation postings or rescheduled events. Ticketmaster.com has updated information on a daily basis. You will need to be patient, though. You are not the only person affected by this.

My hope is things will improve and some sort of normalcy will return. What has been considered normal before may not be the same from here on out. However, the music stays the same. It’s a healer and it will be here long after COVID-19 is not.
David T. Farr can be reached at farrboy@hotmail.com.