Following the cancellation of almost all large-scale shows in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, live music fans have been hoping for some sign of good news as to when they can return to attending concerts. Though answers on when that will happen have varied, Live Nation President Joe Berchtold is feeling pretty optimistic.
In a chat on CNBC’s Squawk Alley on Monday, Berchtold said that he expects live tours to resume in summer 2021. He cited the news of a vaccine that is nearly ready to be distributed as the cause for his optimism.
“We start to see with much greater clarity what the path to return to live is, and certainly a lot of confidence about that return to live,” he said. Berchtold pointed to shows coming back in Asia and New Zealand as signs of progress.
Berchtold then said that “In the key U.S./Western European markets, it continues to be our expectation that by next summer, we’re back with our major outdoor shows — our amphitheaters here in the U.S., festivals globally. We’ll be able to do those shows.”
Regarding safety protocols, Berchtold said he didn’t anticipate — based on the expected distribution of the vaccine by next summer — that outdoor full-capacity shows would return first.
What he didn’t answer when asked, though, is if attendees would be required to show that they had tested negative for COVID. Instead, Berchtold said that the company couldn’t predict what “local market health official rules” are going to be and that “in general, it’s our expectation that by that point that won’t be necessary just given the great progress that we’ve had on the vaccine.”
Earlier this year, Lollapalooza co-founder and former agent Marc Geiger predicted that live music wouldn’t return to the way it was until 2022. Live Nation, however, has consistently said that it is trying to return by next summer.
Watch the full interview below.