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Metal Booking Agent Warns Tours Likely Won't Start Back Up Until 2021

Some harsh realities about the future of touring in 2020.

Photo by Chris Bubinas

We are approaching a month since virtually every tour for the next two months was either canceled or postponed due to the international lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It seems major tours that are scheduled to start in June have yet to pull the plug – namely big tours like the Motley Crue reunion tour, Rammstein's stadium tour, Megadeth Lamb of God's co-headlining tour, among others. But, as we learn more information about the virus and how we will recover from it, the possibility of seeing shows this summer seems very very small, if viable at all.

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Daniel DeFonce is one of the booking agents at the talent agency Continental Touring, and is the man behind the Devastation on the Nation tour. Defonce was one of the first to recognize that their tour, which was to kick off in late March, was going to be impossible to complete. Instead of rescheduling for the summer like many artists have done, Daniel did the wise move and just moved all the dates back a year. Now, he's warning other booking agents, promoters and fans of the harsh realities of the possibility of touring throughout the remainder of 2020. Daniel posted this Twitter thread, which we think is a very realistic account of the current situation:

Too many people are being optimistic about touring in my opinion. This is very hard for me to even say. My life revolves around bands going on tour.

My opinion on when touring will start back up? Early 2021. Even if tours happen later this year…

If tours happen later this year, the turnouts will be cut in half, capacity of venues will be cut in half or even lower, if they are still in business. People will still be scared to go out even if social distancing is lifted.

How many promoters will have funds to back up the loss of any shows? I also see a lot of deals being turned into door deals. How many bands can leave home to play shows for door deals?

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As each day goes by, it gets scarier and scarier how serious this virus is getting. My girlfriend works at a hospital. I hear about this stuff everyday she comes home from work. About all the changes they’re making, how she may have to hop between different hospitals.

Please chime in with your opinions if you’d like…

As everyday goes by, I am mentally preparing myself to have to start looking for a new job outside of the music industry. It’s just what I will need to do and I am preparing myself for that.

For all the talk of the possibility of the social distancing ban being lifted at the end of the month, there is no telling when public gatherings will be allowed to resume.

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This weekend, we learned that US President Donald Trump held a conference call with the commissioners of the top sports leagues in the country, saying he hoped to be able to reopen stadiums in August in time for the NFL kickoff the following month. Knowing how optimistic Trump has been with deadlines for this virus, that tells me that means that public gathering ban will get lifted, at earliest, in November.

Metal Booking Agent Warns Tours Likely Won't Start Back Up Until 2021

Another thing to consider is with the unemployment rates skyrocketing to levels never seen before in American history, another concerning question is will most metal heads even have the disposable income to spend on entertainment and luxuries like going to shows? With bills and rent and mortgage payments piling up, it might be hard for some to rationalize going to shows for a while.

Keeping that in mind, many bands are just waiting to get the go ahead and will likely announce tours as soon as the ban is lifted. While it will give consumers a choice on what to attend, it might create such a large supply of available tours to attend, that people wouldn't be able to afford attending all of them, leaving shows undersold.

Of course, we also have to ask if metalheads will feel safe going back to shows as soon as the ban is lifted? In a poll we posted earlier this weekend, less than half of respondents said they would be willing to go to shows right away, while over a quarter of respondents say they will not attend a show until a vaccine has been introduced. Vote in our poll below:

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Personally, this is very hard to come to grips with. One show I was so looking forward to was finally seeing Rage Against the Machine this summer, at my favorite venue in the world, Madison Square Garden. The show is in August, and I got a pit ticket, and I was finally going to experience this. All I can think about now is how, even if the show does happen, I am not so confident that I would want to go and risk either getting sick myself or getting somebody else sick. That's a bummer. Of course, many people have it way worse, and in the grand scheme of things, it's a bullshit problem. But the point is, this is something affecting all of us and the sooner we rid our world of it, the sooner things can return to some semblance of "normal."

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