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Neil Young on COVID-Era Concerts: “These Are Super-Spreader Events”

He called upon big promoters like Live Nation and AEG to shut down concerts

neil young concerts covid-19 super spreader
Neil Young, photo by Debi Del Grande
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    Neil Young has taken a strong stance against concerts being held during the COVID-19 era. In a blog post on the Neil Young Archives, he called upon big concert promoters to stop putting on shows, calling them “super-spreader events.”

    “The big promoters, if they had the awareness, could stop these shows,” Young wrote, after praising Garth Brooks for canceling his 2021 tour dates. “Live Nation, AEG, and the other big promoters could shut this down if they could just forget about making money for a while… They control much of the entertainment business. They hold the power to stop shows where thousands congregate and spread. It’s money that keeps it going. Money that motivates the spreading. The big promoters are responsible for super spreaders.”

    Whether or not you agree with Young, the veteran songwriter is practicing what he preaches. Earlier this month, the Farm Aid co-founder dropped out of the concert over concerns about COVID-19. He joined the growing list of artists who have changed touring plans due to pandemic concerns, including Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Nine Inch Nails. Meanwhile, Phoebe Bridgers has moved all of her upcoming shows outdoors. There is some evidence that concerts can be held safely with proper safety precautions; Lollapalooza has only been linked to a little over 200 new COVID-19 cases out of 385,000 attendees.

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    Read Young’s full statement below:

    Recently I pulled out of Farm Aid for fear that unprotected children may become infected with Covid by folks who went to the show, caught the virus, had no symptoms and returned home to hug their kids or someone else’s kids. I felt that we didn’t know what we were up against and we were endangering others, unprotected innocent children in particular. I know of tours that are out there and have to stop where they are and isolate in motels because one person among them tested positive. I ask myself, why are they out there?

    Money and business. These two need each other. This has been the American way for years and years. Now it has turned on the country in a new way.

    Garth Brooks and others like him have been responsible and pulled back from doing more shows. That’s a good example. But it will take the big promoters and managers/ agents to make the difference. If it’s all about money, I think they should protect the people who are their livelihood.

    The big promoters, if they had the awareness, could stop these shows. Without that, everyone just keeps going like everything is OK. It’s not. Live Nation, AEG and the other big promoters could shut this down if they could just forget about making money for a while….. They control much of the entertainment business. They hold the power to stop shows where thousands congregate and spread. It’s money that keeps it going. Money that motivates the spreading. The big promoters are responsible for super spreaders.

    These giants of entertainment just renovated a lot of old venues and spent a lot of cash to do that. Now they can’t stop selling tickets to pay for it. Money and business. That doesn’t make this OK. It’s a bad example. Folks see concerts advertised and think it must be OK to go and mingle. It’s not. These are super-spreader events, irresponsible Freedom Fests. We need Freedom to be safe. Not a bad example. This could be just the beginning.

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