Legendary grunge godfather, Neil Young, has spoken out about the ongoing proliferation of concerts while the world continues to fight off the coronavirus and its variants.
“The big promoters, if they had the awareness, could stop these shows,” Young writes in a blog post on his Archives website. “Without that, everyone just keeps going like everything is OK. It’s not. Live Nation, AEG and the other big promoters could shut this down if they could just forget about making money for a while…They control much of the entertainment business.”
The ‘Powderfinger’ singer continued: “They hold the power to stop shows where thousands congregate and spread. It’s money that keeps it going. Money that motivates the spreading. The big promoters are responsible for super spreaders.”
Young also commends artists who have cancelled their tours, giving specific kudos to country superstar Garth Brooks. “Garth Brooks, and others like him, have been responsible and pulled back from doing more shows,” Young continues. “That’s a good example. But it will take the big promoters and managers/ agents to make the difference. If it’s all about money, I think they should protect the people who are their livelihood.”
“These giants of entertainment just renovated a lot of old venues and spent a lot of cash to do that. Now they can’t stop selling tickets to pay for it. Money and business. That doesn’t make this OK. It’s a bad example. Folks see concerts advertised and think it must be OK to go and mingle. It’s not. These are super-spreader events, irresponsible Freedom Fests. We need Freedom to be safe. Not a bad example. This could be just the beginning.”
Young himself hasn’t toured since his solo theatre run ended in 2019. Instead, he’s been posting videos of himself singing at his private ranch. The singer’s planned return to the stage at his Farm Aid festival was cancelled, although the festival itself still plans to forge ahead.
“Recently I pulled out of Farm Aid for fear that unprotected children may become infected with Covid by folks who went to the show, caught the virus, had no symptoms and returned home to hug their kids or someone else’s kids,” Young says. “I felt that we didn’t know what we were up against and we were endangering others, unprotected innocent children in particular. I know of tours that are out there and have to stop where they are and isolate in motels because one person among them tested positive. I ask myself, why are they out there?”
Young ended his post with a succinct assessment of why concerts continue to happen in the covid era. “Money and business. These two need each other. This has been the American way for years and years. Now it has turned on the country in a new way.”