Why are Musicians cancelling tours?

As if it wasn't hard enough for musicians to make a living gigging but currently tours and festivals are being cancelled at an unprecedented rate.

The list of artistes includes not just smaller bands. but international acts from the US and UK like Justin Bieber, Arlo Parks, Little Simz, Demi Levato, Poppy Ajudha. The latest casualty is the When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas.

Why cancel your music tour?

It's getting too expensive to stage gigs, ticket sales are unpredictable, and promoters and artists are reluctant to accept the risk of losses. Who can blame them but... 'twas always that way I hear you say - so the question is not just why cancel, but why the epidemic pf cancellations now?

There have always been headwinds for artistes, but today it seems like a perfect storm.

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the Music Managers Forum says, “Ticket sales are slow, people are worried about money, there is a massive labour shortage and the cost of hiring vans and trucks has gone up dramatically. On top of that, there is a currency devaluation and a fuel crisis. It’s absolutely horrible.”

See click here

Can British bands get gigs?

The risks are greatest for acts trying to break into new territories. Will there ever be a 'British invasion' into the US like the Beatles did. Unlikely. Thanks to Brexit British acts can't even rely on breaking into the EU!

This is a huge market of 500M consumers on the doorstep of Britain's domestic market (60M).

We used to have freedom of movement across this market. Pre-Brexit, if you loaded your kit into a van in Birmingham, you could drive to Berlin, Barcelona or Paris, unload your kit and be on stage with no one blinking an eye. We all know that the post Brexit requirements for regulation, carnets, insurance etc. has effectively killed off the European market for British acts. Unless you're huge like Adele, Sheeran, Coldplay, Robbie Williams?

It used to be that, with low overheads, UK bands of any stature could find a promoter who would take a chance on them but how do booking agents decide who gets the gigs now?

The singer or the song?

The problem is compounded world wide because It is getting harder to predict which acts will sell tickets. Many promoters use streaming figures and social media numbers to gauge interest. But does a million streams on Spotify mean people want to see an artist live? “Not necessarily,” says Elijah, artist manager at Make The Ting. “Some tracks are bigger than the artists themselves, and don’t convert well into tickets.”

So, are gig cancellations the new normal?

You tell me, send me an email with your thoughts and I'll publish them here


PS. here's a great video by the Financial Times about how high risk staging festivals is click here