Until recently, Marc Geiger, served as the head of music at WME (the William Morris Agency) and is one of the founders of Lollapalooza. Unfortunately, Geiger is not expecting anyone to be attending any big music festivals in 2021.
Geiger Tells All on the Bob Lefsetz Podcast
When asked on “The Bob Lefsetz Podcast” Geiger said he does think concerts will return, but not until late 2021, or more likely 2022. He also told Lefsetz that the big problem going forward is insurance, and it’s a major reason for the long delay, although it’s only one issue facing the music industry.
Geiger went on to elaborate that, “Whether it’s the government or its testing, music festivals are too infinite of a well to go down forever. That said, in my humble opinion, it’s going to be 2022. It’s going to take that long before the ‘germophobia economy’ is slowly killed off and be replaced by the ‘claustrophobia economy.’ That’s where everybody wants to go out and go out to dinner and have their life back, going to festivals and going to shows. My instinct says that is going to take a while because as you can see, people see sports, shows, festivals, anything, even the classroom, as super-spreaders events. That ain’t going to change while people think the virus is still present.”
“So my instinct says the world is in for a very long, enforced timeout,” Geiger continued. “A lot of people see positives in the situation, whether it’s traffic, whether it’s climate change and pollution, whether it’s nature and animals, whether it’s pausing to contemplate our own beings. I know it’s maddening, frustrating, and economically destructive. But this is bigger than us, and if you study history things like this happen and are super-disruptive to normal society. So here is the biggie for our lifetime.”
When music industry blogger and podcaster Lefsetz brought up a question about insurance, Geiger indicated that policies available for future music events are a long way off for most promoters.
“There is no insurance currently offered against Covid… and even normal insurance policies are pretty hard to come by,” said Geiger. “Right now, the insurers are sitting on the sidelines since there’s an infinite amount of liability. … ‘Hey I got Covid at your event,’ this and that, but how do you prove it? I think the biggest event promoters and companies could maybe self-insure, and that would be a start. Everyone else must wait until the insurance industry feels better about it. So that’s one of many, many roadblocks we face when it comes to restarting this spirited economy that got shut down. So there’s probably 20 reasons concerts won’t be coming back, and insurance is a biggie. And I don’t know when that comes back.”
Are Drive-in Concerts Here to Stay?
When Lefsetz asked Geiger if drive-in concerts were a gimmick or a real model for the future, Geiger answered the former.
When asked to elaborate, Geiger sighed and said, “Do I have to? Why it’s a gimmick? For one thing, audience capacity is very small by the time you park the cars. Pricing for a disconnected experience will be high. I don’t think the audio can be very good in a car, but hey. This is just a temporary stop-gap solution.”
“Garth Brooks did a very interesting thing; basically he did a pay-per-view streamed to other drive-ins. I think there’s a feeling that during what I like to call the germinology economy that almost anything is better than nothing, if I can get out of the house. So to me, drive-in concerts are not really a great experience, to be honest. And the economy is broken, so let’s get real. These mandates are doing things to do them, where they can’t make a living, right?”