Booking agent warns touring industry might not fully resume until 2021

Posted by on April 8, 2020


The entertainment world was rocked nearly a month ago when the COVID-19 pandemic put touring at a stand still. Some artists have postponed their spring tours into mid-late 2020 and 2021 while others have cancelled their treks entirely. 

It’s hard to know when touring will go back to “normal” or even if it will go back to what it once was. 

One booking agent is warning that it could take until next year until we see something that might resemble a normal gathering. Daniel DeFonce of Continental Touring, the agency behind metal tour Devastation of the Nation, wrote on Twitter that he doesn’t see touring picking up until early 2021, and even then not in the same capacity it once was.

“Too many people are being optimistic about touring in my opinion,” said DeFonce. “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.”

DeFonce says that if tours start up again too early, they run the risk of underselling.

“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?,” he continues. “I also see a lot of deals being turned into door deals. How many bands can leave home to play shows for door deals?”

There are further risks to bringing public gatherings back too early. As Metal Injection points out, unemployment has ballooned over the last month, leaving many income-less and tight on cash. When shows come back, people might be more frugal with their money, considering whether or not they have the funds to attend.

Metal Injection also poses the question of whether or not potential concertgoers will be comfortable gathering so soon after the ban is lifted. In a poll posted by the site, more than half of their readers said they wouldn’t attend shows without some sort of control in place to fight the virus, whether that be safety precautions taken by the venue, a full-on vaccine or better testing.

DeFonce’s concerns are founded, as what is going on right now is scary and its repercussions unknown.

“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.”

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

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