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News Article

COVID-19: the impact on the global arts and entertainment industry

Cancelling of large music events such as Coachella and country lockdowns 

The global arts and entertainment industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, with many large events cancelled, and financial losses increasing. While events planners and organisers are still working on upcoming events, spectators are deciding to stay away from events in the near future, impacting ticket sales. The newly confirmed ‘pandemic’, continues to grow, many top officials are slowly implementing individual countrywide bans on public mass gatherings.

Large music festivals cancelled

Coachella, the world’s most famous music festival, is set to be postponed till October due to COVID-19 concerns. Coachella, held in California every April, the event expects a crowd of over 250,000 people, often with superstar headline acts. For 2020, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is supposed to begin on Friday, 10 April and end on Sunday, 19 April.

However, officials are moving the event to the autumn - in six months’ time, with the hope the pandemic will be over, and travel restrictions will be eased.

Many large-scale concerts and sporting events have been cancelled worldwide because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Most recently the Australian bushfire relief charity concert has been cancelled due to artists not being willing to travel during the outbreak.

To keep up to date with all the music, film and art event cancellations, follow the Guardian's Coronavirus and culture – a list of major cancellations

Blanket restrictions and country lockdowns

France has imposed blanket restrictions on any event with a spectator crowd of greater than 1,000. This ban has impacted not only music concerts, but museums, galleries and the Six Nations rugby union competition. French authorities had banned public gatherings of over 5,000 people in an enclosed space until the end of May.

The Czech Republic recently announced it was closing schools and universities, as well as preventing gatherings of over 100 people. Similar restrictions are in place in Ukraine.

The whole of Italy, a nation of over 60 million, has been put under ‘lockdown’ due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Italian authorities have issued a ‘do not travel’ instruction, with travel permission granted for “urgent, verifiable work situations and emergencies or health reasons”.

The decree states that all public events will be banned, cinemas, theatres, gyms, discos and pubs closed, and funerals, weddings and sporting events cancelled – including Serie A football matches and the high-profile Rome marathon. The impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on Italy’s travel, tourism and leisure sectors is considerable.

Venice, a popular tourist destination is empty, with many shops and cafés boarded up. Venice has recently suffered devastating floods, which left much of the vulnerable city underwater and damaged historical buildings. The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the local economy, means that much needed money is not flowing into the city, where it is needed by local residents and business owners. 

However, planning for major film festivals in the region are still underway, with Cannes and Venice set to go ahead.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics update

There are many rumours as to whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are to go ahead or not. Currently, the official stance is the games are still going ahead. Though the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board is being advised by the World Health Organization and the United Nations on the next steps and monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak intensely. The last news post on the website from March 3rd, stated the IOC Executive Board expressed its ‘full commitment to the success of the Olympic games Tokyo 2020, scheduled to take place from 24th July to 9th August 2020’. 

The potential pandemic may cause the event to either go ahead behind ‘closed doors’, without spectators, and athletes will be monitored for signs of the virus, or event will be postponed for an indefinite amount of time.CBS Sports reports that cancelling or even delaying the Games would cost Japan anywhere between $12.6 to $25.2 billion dollars.


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