‘The once thunderous crowds dispersed’

Several tours, music festivals, and award shows were postponed or entirely canceled due to COVID-19


Minche Kim

More than 83 million concert tickets were made ineffective due to COVID-19. Tours, music festivals, and award shows were postponed or entirely canceled.

Minche Kim, Staff Writer

A deafening roar echoes through eardrums. Beams of lights are blinding as silhouettes walk through a shower of spotlights. Quickly engulfed in music, everyone stands to greet the figure strutting towards the screaming fans.

The scene fades as all the screaming and yelling of the crowd abruptly halts. The shining rays of light switch off, while the spotlights lower their heads.  

About 79.8 million cases and 1.75 million deaths – a virus called COVID-19 sweeps the globe, weaving itself through the human population. Families lost loved ones, schools shut down, and governments urged citizens to stay home; the once thunderous crowds dispersed.

As an individual who was looking forward to multiple concerts myself, the cancellation of the events I had looked forward to was discouraging. The tickets that I had purchased through nervous hours of clicking all disintegrated, forcing me to succumb to reality.

On April 22, 2020, Forbes Media LLC confirmed that more than 83 million concert tickets were made ineffective. 

Tours, such as Justin Bieber’s ‘Changes’ tour and BTS’s ‘Map of the Soul’ tour, were postponed or entirely canceled. Music festivals, such as Summerfest 2020, were canceled. Award shows like the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards were pushed off to a later date. Concert halls and stadiums became inanimate, and their memories of sold-out seats disappeared into history. 

Just as the disappointment from the cancellation of some of my favorite artists’ concerts was sinking deeper every day into my daily life, notifications popped up onto phones, indicating the possibility of liveliness. 

Starting from American singer Lizzo’s group meditation through Instagram on March 13, artists and companies began taking advantage of social media and online platforms to connect with fans. Online concert tickets and concert dates quickly flooded the calendar. 

For instance, Billie Eilish, one of the countless artists that canceled a tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosted a live stream on Oct. 24, called “Where Do We Go” with tickets for sale. 

Canceled music festivals and award shows returned through social media, including iHeart Radio’s HBCU Homecoming Celebration, which H.E.R. and Khalid performed through iHeartRadio’s YouTube Channel.

As an attendee for the second day of the BTS’ Map of the Soul ON:E online concert, I still remember how the lit-up stage brought back the anticipation and sensation of live concerts. I was thrilled that the little things about concerts that I missed – such as marking the calendar, buying snacks before the event, and communicating with other fans – returned through similar forms, such as online chats and homemade recipes. 

With the screen filled up with fans in front of diverse wallpapers, I heard the crowds scream once again.