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Live Nation president says COVID vaccine brings about ‘much greater clarity’ to re-opening by summer 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States back in March, essentially shutting down the country indefinitely, the live music industry was arguably one of the hardest hit. A month later, CNBC had Live Nation President, Joe Birchtold, on their market and business watch show, Squawk Alley, to discuss the company’s strategy for safely returning. Amid a lot of speculation around a vaccine, Birchtold revealed that Live Nation and its subsidiaries laid out a financial pathway to return by summer 2021. While the industry still lays in flux around an uncertain future, that’s the date many have accepted to be the true marker for whether mass gatherings can return.

The path to re-opening outdoor events

Now that a vaccine is now being circulated beginning today, December 10, Berchtold has returned to CNBC to confirm that LiveNation is still on that path to re-opening by next summer. Berchtold said the vaccine brings about “much greater clarity,” noting that he feels “very good” about the prospect of in-person mass gatherings. Berchtold continued,

“In the key US/Western European markets, it continues to be our expectation that by next summer, we’re back with our major outdoor shows—our amphitheaters here in the US, festivals globally. We’ll be able to do those shows.”

Joe Berchtold, President of Live Nation

Berchtold’s sentiments align with Live Nation’s CEO Michael Rapino’s optimism for re-opening from earlier this summer. “We expect shows at scale next summer,” Rapino said further, although the “exact timeline of this return will vary by region, and so we continue to focus on remaining flexible.”

Digital ticketing & requiring COVID-negative tests

The Live Nation executive also discussed the move toward digital ticketing, which he states “Ticketmaster has really been a leader of.” Berchtold continues, “the desire to know who’s in the venue has only been accelerated by all this… so we can know if there are any security or health issues, we’re able to track and trace everybody’s who there.”

When pressed on whether Live Nation would require COVID-negative tests at their shows, which created some controversy recently, Berchtold was rather vague.