Coronavirus
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Covid/Concerts

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“Crowded Lollapalooza music festival could bring cascade of Covid cases, experts warn – Infectious disease experts worry that precautions were insufficient, and infections may have spread among the 100,000 daily audience”: https://bit.ly/2WSvsrj

So, this is how it appears to be playing out. Corporations are closing their doors to the unvaccinated, you can’t work for Disney or Google if you haven’t gotten the shot(s), but there’s still a large vocal constituency that refuses to get jabbed. Now what?

Well, you can blame the Democrats for one. Always cowering in the face of Republican advances. The Democrats don’t act, they react. And it’s hard to win a battle if you’re always playing defense. There was so much right-wing blowback about vaccine passports that the Democrats shut up about them, worried about alienating those who would never vote for a Democrat anyway. And now there’s no good way to establish whether someone is vaccinated or not.

Getting a fake vaccine card is much easier than getting a fake driver’s license. Never mind that my card is on a flimsy piece of paper that looks like it was made at home to begin with. Never mind the fact that most people carry the image on their phone, and in pictures the fake can look real.

“Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are 100% a thing at Lollapalooza in Chicago. You can get it with a single-day wristband for $50. I have confirmed that it does work.”: https://bit.ly/3flYMNe

They may have turned away 600 unvaccinated people at the Lollapalooza gate, but expect that number to go way down once the word spreads, once people are prepared with their fake documents. Then what?

Well it looks like the concert industry is similar to the Olympic committee. Money is everything. So the games go on, without attendees, athletes get infected and have to drop out and NBC loses a bucket of cash on the TV rights. Is this a victory?

Never mind the Olympics were a thing before everybody knew the East Germans and Russians doped and it was all political anyway. And just try watching the damn games. Go on your Roku, good luck jumping through the hoops of authorization. NBC is so worried about getting ripped-off, people watching for free, that most people aren’t even bothering. You always start free with technology, the key is to get enough people using the device or platform to spread the word and reach critical mass. But NBC doesn’t realize it’s competing with more than network, more than cable, even more than streaming. They’re competing with the damn smartphone itself, which works much better than their clunky interface.

So, promoters can say they’re requiring vaccination but it really doesn’t mean anything. If an unvaccinated person wants to go, they’ll find a way. But the promoter will say they’ve done their duty.


So now who do we sue?

The mayor who wants the revenue?

Never mind that infections show up in excess of a week past the date of the event and so many people don’t call in their illness.

So, what we’ve got here is a mess. Created by those supposedly in the know, on the right side of the discussion, but not much better than those spreading disinformation.

And it’s one thing to require vaccination at left-leaning, middle class white Lollapalooza. But how about in the deep south at a country show?

Now speaking of country, Luke Bryan, a bland performer if there ever was one, brought Morgan Wallen on stage last week. To hosannas. Turns out the media is not as powerful as it thinks it is. And if you take matters into your own hands, you can make a difference, change the course of action, win in the end. The media was canceling Wallen, the same media which believes Twitter reflects the headspace of the public. No, it’s a self-selecting minority! Twitter’s not worthless, but if you want to draw broad conclusions, beware.

As for DaBaby… It was musicians who canceled him first. Showing you don’t need the stinking media to lead the way.

So, what is going to happen with shows?

It’s too soon to know. It hangs in the balance. Yesterday Fauci said the spread of the Delta variant would get worse before it gets better. And even if you successfully held mass events in weeks past, we’re in a different era today. Delta is gangbusters and very transmissible. But promoters are wary of shutting the business down.


Hell, if I ran the world they would. You’ve got to penalize the unvaccinated. And if the rest of us have to suffer, I’d rather suffer now than for years to come.

So it turns out nobody really runs this country. It’s a collection of tiny fiefdoms that no one really has the temperature of. I’d say it’s the wild west without guns, but now with all these permitless carry laws we’ve got those too.

So what’s end game?

In Europe they’re making all the car companies go electric, they’re worried about the environment. In the U.S. the story is Elon Musk, not Tesla. These same people who won’t get vaccinated won’t buy electric cars until dealers stop selling them.

But we can change behavior.

I bought a 1974 BMW that required you to put on your seatbelt before you started the car, all 1974 models had this. People were plenty pissed, they got rid of that the following year, but that’s truly what made everybody start wearing seatbelts. And now if you don’t buckle up there’s a ding so annoying you want to shoot your car, or yourself.

There are now laws on the books that you can’t drive without being buckled in. If they didn’t already exist there’d be tens of millions fighting the powers that be not to have them, because they want to have the freedom to die!

Biden could lead. But he’s so busy trying to be bipartisan that he’s lost our faith, mine anyway. The right is playing chess and the left is playing checkers. No, scratch that, no matter what the left wants to play the right won’t play at all! Imagine knocking on your next door neighbor’s door and finding out your buddy doesn’t want to play baseball. Would you go home and sulk, beholden to his behavior or…would you just go to the damn field and play with those who were there? And, of course, once you start playing your next door neighbor, and everybody else, wants to get into the game.

You’ve got to have character. You’ve got to lead.


Corporations got the memo. No unvaxxed people in the building. When is the government gonna get the memo? Why isn’t the justice department suing Florida and the rest of these states with live free and die statutes?

And yes, this is about life and death.

And people are stupid. And they seem to only learn from experience. We protect people on the highways, in national parks, how come we can’t protect them against Covid-19?

Forget the arguments, you’re already convinced.

But now we’ve got to leave the others behind and wait for them to wake up. Stop catering to them, you cannot win them over. But if they can’t go to a show, can’t get on a plane, can’t go to a restaurant, can’t do almost anything where the public congregates, they’re gonna change their minds and get the jab, because it’s just too damn lonely looking at the four walls of your house.

What we need is more leadership. A national vaccination database. Don’t tell me about privacy when I can find anybody’s address online instantly. Never mind social security. We need to close the doors to the unvaccinated and open them only to the vaccinated. We want the unvaxxed to be on the outside looking in. With it being THEIR CHOICE whether to participate.

Who’s got the balls?

Doesn’t seem like anybody other than private companies that don’t let the public through their doors to begin with. Everybody’s always waiting for someone else to make the decision, to lay down an edict.

But that’s America today. No one wants to take a risk. But you can’t advance if you don’t.

I mean are we really going to be dealing with this Covid issue for years?

Right now it looks like it.

And that’s completely untenable.

“Touring During a Pandemic: My Covid Breakthrough Story”: https://bit.ly/3ymQRXp

Update: https://bit.ly/3iij7ok


Responses from Bob’s readers – these comments are unedited for grammar or content.

I’ve been on tour for a couple of weeks now. We have no CCO, the TM asked nothing about vaccinations when hiring crew (“it’s everyone’s own decision”), and the venues, while largely outdoors, have not required local hands to mask. Many of the venue staff working indoors are wearing masks but not all. These venues are all in the South, where Delta is spiking in large numbers.

I’ve heard from friends on other tours, several report tour members with positive tests. They were only tested after showing symptoms. No one else was tested and only the symptomatic were isolated. It seems the norm with tours is not to test; the tours can say no staff has tested positive but do not say that they are not tested.

I feel fairly safe about my own health, being fully vaccinated. I worry about being asymptomatic and infecting those whom we contact, including our artists, who are quite coy about their own vaccinations. One claims to be unvaccinated. Band management says they have seen his vaccination card. Why the obfuscation? How do I interact with this person?

We all need the income, but I do wonder how long we will maintain the tour.
Every time I sneeze from pollen allergies I wonder what’s really up. When I see local hands coughing up lungers and spitting off the side of dock, and then see 5000 unmasked folks in the audience pressing against the barricades, I have to wonder if we are producing super spreader events.

If you should decide to print this, please do not use my name. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why.

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After over 40 years of touring, I’m sitting this summer out

I have better things to do than wonder which stagehand contact will kill me

I told my boss that by the time I hand him his first guitar I’ve been in contact with at least 16 locals; unloading the truck, pushing the ramp, uncasing the gear

Then I get on a bus with 10 other crew who themselves have been in contact with their 16 stagehands…

I just read a great Farley Mowat book ( the Boat Who Wouldn’t Float) and am enjoying my time where I can choose who I am in contact with

Vaxed and masked !

Mk Bitterman

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What you say is so true. Here in France 1 million people made appointments to get vaccinated since the Macron government mandated vaccine certificates to enter restaurants, cafes, museums, concerts etc. It works. And the 200,000 (.002 % of the total population of 67 million) who took to the streets are whining about the infringement on their personal liberty and proclaiming that they would rather not go to restaurants or cinemas because their rights are being infringed and that’s what’s most important; I hope they enjoy staying home during their August vacation traveling time which as you may know is sacred here in France and other parts of Europe.

Glenn in Paris

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yikes. this is really serious. we’re still sorting out our COVID protocols; we have required all our tour personnel to be fully vaccinated and email us their vax cards – two people chose not to return to work instead and have been replaced. but all sorts of decisions about paid VIP meetngreet guests, personal guests, local crew interactions, catering areas, etc, still need to be finalized.

Toby Mamis
ALIVE ENTERPRISES

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I used to be an agent in touring, and left during the pandemic to manage an artist I discovered who ended up signing with one of the majors a few months later. We’re planning his first debut headline dates for January ’22 and I’m just so hesitant to fully pull the trigger, especially when I see stories like this. Luckily the artist really cares about his fans and wants to make sure people are protected if (and when) we do shows, but I’m afraid that even January will be too soon. This pandemic isn’t over yet… and maybe it never will be. Yet, it feels like the collective attitude from the masses is that they just don’t care. I mean, look at the crowds at Lolla and Rolling Loud. I heard that recently there was a show at one of the 500 caps in LA and upwards of 100 people went home with Covid. And yet, stories like this that you shared are far too common, and far too unreported. Thank you for sharing.

I hope the country (and the world) comes to their senses and gets vaccinated. It’s absurd how much misinformation is spread, and how many people are uneducated on how the vaccine works and becomes effective for the general population. We’re letting this virus run rampant and develop faster than our medicine, and it feels like we’re going to be battling this virus for another decade+ at this rate… I hate to think about what it will mean for touring.

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Spot on Bob,

I will not re-open my show after 8 years in Las Vegas, until it is safe for my cast, crew and obviously punters.

No one is going to be ill or die on my watch, but I am getting grief from local press as I seem to be the only Show Producer in Vegas doing so.

Never been a follower, or worked for a corporate.

Stay safe.

Sir Harry Cowell

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Spot on (no surprise). A mess.

I’m in a full time cover band that plays weddings, events, and busy tourist spots in the northeast. Starting 3/7/2019 we were suddenly unemployed. Good news; we made it though. Mid-May 2021 bookings went from zero to 100 and I have been playing to hundreds of people a night (in very close quarters), 3 or 4 nights a week, within about a 300 mile radius. And we, and everyone at the gig…staff, audience…all go home, wherever that is.

I still mask indoors, but at venues we play there’s no chance of staying safe. You’re constantly near someone.
And I come home to my (vaxxed) immunocompromised (cancer, stage 4) wife every Monday with around four states worth of dirt on me and everything I carry, worrying that this might be the time I got accidentally spit on by the wrong person at the bar. Ultimately to fire up Facebook and see another braying moron standing up for “their freedom”, still somehow completely ignorant to the irrefutable fact that This. Fucking Isn’t. Only. About. You.

jeff.g

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I can’t thank you enough for shedding light on long covid. I did an interview with billboard about my battle with it which really only touched the surface of how insane it’s been for me. It’s a real struggle for so many that is still flying under the radar. It’s infuriating when people won’t get vaccinated citing high survival rates when the truth is you may survive but not with your quality of life intact. Though I am improved 16 months later I still battle with various symptoms and liver damage that I am hoping will resolve. This happened to me at 37 if I was 20 years older I probably would have been dead. So many people think they are untouchable and it can’t effect them (particularly young people) and those are the ones delta is going to take down. Pre vaccine I would have had sympathy for anyone who got covid but if covid cuts you down and you didn’t get vaccinated at this point that’s just karma. The fact that it’s not govt mandated is a joke. Society is in for a rude awakening at some point with hundreds of thousands of long haulers many quite young on disability and in need of constant medical care. It’s a fucking mess.

Thanks again,
Jarred Arfa

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You mention Russian Roulette and catching that one bullet, but even the empty chambers can drastically impact your life. We have an antivaxer friend who’s family caught it from her husband, a police officer who’s partner came to work coughing sick for several days. After a week of being sick at home she ended up in the hospital for ten days. She was never intubated, but can you imagine the cost of ten days of in-patient hospital care? Even if you get a moderate case, you can still end up with a pile of bills that have a substantial impact on your family – and that’s if you are the lucky one in the hospital.

David Anderson

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I have a friend in the hospital right now who’s fully vaccinated, caught a variant and is deadly ill… It’s bonkers out there!

Fiona Bloom

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When I saw Sir Lewis skip the tire change and start alone, then ask the pit where he was on track related to other drivers, then nearly pass out on the podium just before the Champagne Fail, it all said Long COVID to me. By the reports of victims, it’s usually the milder first cases that may get the Long COVID symptoms (there are as many as 100 symptoms) and up to 30% of first COVID infections will go Long. It’s a horror movie nightmare experience, and you think you might die, or might want to. The best place to see the firsthand reports is on FB at Survivor Corps group. My Long symptoms persisted for over 3 months and all the while my labs and BP, were normal. Docs are just now accepting that it is a “real thing “. They have little to no idea how to treat it. How Lewis was able to make that drive, I will never know.
Thanks for raising awareness, Bob.

Jim Long

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I, too, have some lingering long haul symptoms. Mostly occasional dizziness, just like Hamilton. But I’m not an F1 driver and it in no way hampers me from leading a normal life. I fought the virus and I won. But two people I know have been hospitalized with thromboses following their second jab. I’m a lot more comfortable risking another bout with the virus than deliberately injecting myself with an experimental drug that mimics it. Sorry, but I’m sticking with the devil I know.

Lawrence Shore

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It’s so scary – Long Covid is all I’m thinking about. My cousin in NYC got covid last November. She still doesn’t have her taste back. Her doctor has her “training” her brain with distinct smells and tastes like lemon etc. She is so depressed.

I was never worried about dying from the original covid – but we were very very very careful – cause I didn’t want to be a burden – didn’t want to infect my wife – have to quarantine – go to the hospital – take a ventilator from someone who was sick and compromised. And wanted to squash this thing like the countries who united and handled it.

But – losing my taste? Fatigue? Dizziness? For how long? That’s so scary.

We are back to being very careful – no office – no parties – no inside anything.

We are in Act 2 – and we are in the unknown again.

Stay safe Bob. Thx.

Peter van Roden

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One of the main differences between LC and ME/CFS is that LC patients are much more likely to experience shortness of breath. But both are umbrella terms with a host of symptoms, many of which overlap, with some persisting others variable – and, what helps one person might not help another.

I was in a Rugby team – that was a breeze compared to ME/CFS fatigue..
I was in a long distance cross country team – the fatigue of that was nothing compared to ME/CFS I was in a physcal day job and attending/taking meetings until midnight 6 nights a week, that was a doddle compared to ME/CFS I contracted infective hepatitis from a plumber and was so weak I could barely crawl to the toilet – that tiredness felt benevolent compared to ME/CFS.

So when Lewis Hamilton says “The level of fatigue you get is different and it’s a real challenge.”.
He’s only hinting at how devastating the fatigue of Long covid can be.

Then there’s “brain fog”, a ridiculously benign term for a seriously debilitating condition or episodes.
I lost a job because it – so then a severe economic and life upheaval ensues for person, family and friends.

Linden Coll

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You want to have your mind blown about long covid? Join this Facebook group of more than 13,000 and read some of the heart rending posts about the life altering after effects experienced by covid survivors, many of whom weren’t even dangerously ill with the virus. One of the group’s founders, Amanda Finley, has been very instrumental in bringing long covid into the public eye. https://www.facebook.com/groups/COVIDLongHaulers

Laurie LaCross-Wright

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I read that thread you shared on touring during COVID and saw this a few times:

“Live Nation has a clause that states an artist can’t mention Covid or the pandemic as the reason for cancelling a show.”

Is this true from what you have heard?

I have seen some recent shows cancelled with that excuse and in the past I chalked that up to poor ticket sales. That may still be the case but now I am wondering if there is another aspect to this.

Sam Hunt & Zac Brown Band Stadium Concert Cancelled “Due To Unforeseen Circumstances”
Jason Isbell’s Kansas City area concert is canceled due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’
Willie Nelson show at Ozarks Amphitheater postponed ‘due to unforeseen circumstances’
Tanya Bartevyan *Unfortunately, this concert has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances Due to unforeseen circumstances, The Commodores concert scheduled for this weekend

More:
https://www.google.com/search?q=%E2%80%9Cunforeseen+circumstances.%E2%80%9D+concert&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS961US961&oq=%E2%80%9Cunforeseen+circumstances.%E2%80%9D+concert&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160l2.9328j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

– Paul Kersh

 

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