Virus-hobbled concert promoter sets sights on future gigs
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This time next year

Virus-hobbled concert promoter sets sights on future gigs

With spring and summer headliners from the Pixies to Celine Dion expected to cancel their tours, organizer Shuki Weiss looks to bring them to Israel in 2021 instead

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The four members of Red Hot Chili Peppers who were supposed to perform in Tel Aviv on June 10, 2020 (Courtesy Red Hot Chili Peppers)
The four members of Red Hot Chili Peppers who were supposed to perform in Tel Aviv on June 10, 2020 (Courtesy Red Hot Chili Peppers)

As the coronavirus has raged for the last two months, local concert promoter Shuki Weiss has tried to figure out alternatives to his summer of planned shows, most of which have already been canceled.

“It’s a spiral,” wrote Weiss in a statement at the weekend. “We’ve experienced other painful cancellations in our decades of work, but they’re usually for political or security reasons. This time it’s global; every tour is being canceled and it puts us all in the dark, looking for solutions.”

Spring and summer concert dates in Israel for Iron Maiden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nick Cave, Morrissey, The Pixies, Celine Dion and Cirque du Soleil were just a few of the shows planned for 2020, wrote Weiss.

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, promoters like Weiss have been working closely with artists, managers and their staff to find alternative solutions. He cited as an example the cancellation of Celine Dion, a Canadian singer who was scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv’s Ganei Yehoshua on August 4 and 5 on an open-air stage constructed to mimic her Las Vegas productions.

Dion’s stop in Israel was meant to be part of her Courage World Tour, with concerts in 122 cities over the course of 12 months.

“It’s an operation we’ve been working on for three years,” wrote Weiss.

Concert promoter Shuki Weiss and his staff on one of their Zoom calls, working to reschedule concerts and shows from the spring and summer of 2020 (Courtesy Shuki Weiss)

With most world tours and festivals canceled through the summer, and many European countries forbidding large gatherings through September 2020, performers and bands are working on rescheduling their concert dates.

“It’s an undertaking that’s taken very seriously by artists and their producers,” said Weiss.

For now, Weiss has announced rescheduled concerts for Nick Cave in June 2021 and Morrissey in May 2021, and is working on the others.

While some countries’ governments offer economic support for the culture industries, including financial backing for booking new dates for arenas, production and logistics, independent Israeli promoters like Weiss have not received any financial support, he said.

“We don’t want to give up on any of these shows,” he wrote. “If corona steals 2020 from us, there’s always 2021 and we’ll wait impatiently for it.”

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