For the first time, South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals will be held as a hybrid event (in-person and online) for the 2022 edition of the event, which takes place from March 11 to March 20 in Austin, Texas. After being cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and going completely online in 2021, SXSW is following safety protocols to offer this hybrid experience for SXSW attendees in 2022. SXSW is arguably the best-known event in the U.S. that combines music, film, interactive and convergence programming.
Here are some of the anticipated highlights of the festival:
Updated February 15, 2022
The lineup of SXSW keynote speakers includes:
Grammy-winning artist Lizzo
Grammy-winning artist Beck
Author Neal Stephenson
Filmmaker/immersive artist Celine Tricart
President of Beggars Group U.S. Nabil Ayers with journalist Andy Langer
MediaLink founder and CEO of Michael E. Kassan and founder and Candle Media founder/co-CEO chairman of DAZN Group/Smash Ventures co-founder/managing director Kevin Mayer with Variety co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa
Grammy Award-nominated artist Michelle Zauner
Featured speakers include:
The women of Peacock’s critically acclaimed comedy series Girls5eva, for a panel that will include songwriter Sara Bareilles; Tony Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning singer Renée Elise Goldsberry; author/actress Busy Philipps; Emmy-winning writer Paula Pell; and Emmy winning screenwriter/showrunner Meredith Scardino.
Music artists and “Omoiyari” director Kishi Bashi
Graphic designer and Beeple director Laurie Segall
Director of OPTIV Federal Services Nycki Brooks; former Associate Vice Chancellor for Cybersecurity Initiatives at the Texas A&M University System Dr. Stephen Cambone; CEO and a board member of Optiv Federal Services Kevin Lynch; and the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Chief Data Officer David Spirk.
Founder and President of Deborah Brosnan & Associates Dr. Deborah Brosnan with entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria.
Investigative writer and producer Nile Cappello; Campfire Studios founder/CEO of Campfire Studios Ross Dinerstein; author/TV personality Chrissy Teigen; and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Marina Zenovich discuss their investigation into the Remnant Fellowship Church, including a first look at Part Two of their HBO Max docuseries The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin.
Candid CEO Ann Mei Chang
Professor/media host Scott Galloway
Treefort founder & CEO of Kelly Garner and Academy Award-nominated actor and screenwriter Ethan Hawke talk about their forthcoming Audible Original scripted series “FISHPRIEST”
United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
Center for Humane Technology co-founder/president Tristan Harris
Advocate, data scientist and algorithmic product manager Frances Haugen
Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) chairman Donna Langley with CNN media reporter Frank Pallotta
Actor, director and Slate investigative reporter Ben McKenzie; labor and technology reporter for Motherboard Edward Ongweso; and technology and national security staff writer for The New Republic Jacob Silverman
Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy
“Queer Eye” star/author Jonathan Van Ness with writer, poet and comedian ALOK
American Airlines chairman/CEO Doug Parker with MRO and Business Aviation executive editor Lee Ann Shay
Built It Productions founder/Tinkercast co-founder Guy Raz with UTA partner and head of Audio Oren Rosenbaum
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff with CNN Anchor and Chief National Affairs Analyst Kasie Hunt
Creator and unofficial “Queen of Clubhouse” Swan Sit
FaZe Clan CEO/co-owner Lee Trink
Variety Intelligence Platform president/chief media analyst of Andrew Wallenstein with Variety Intelligence Platform senior media analyst at Gavin Bridge
New Breath Foundation president/founder Eddy Zheng
Princeton University professor of African American Studies/author Ruha Benjamin, activist/sister of Breonna Taylor Ju’Niyah Palmer, YESUNIVERSE founder/CEO Lady Pheønix, multimedia artist Sutu and activist and partner of Breonna Taylor Kenneth Walker
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
Benchmark General partner Bill Gurley
Actress/director Gillian Jacobs (appearing virtually) with actor/comedian Joel McHale (appearing virtually)
Texas politician Beto O’Rourke in conversation with The Texas Tribune CEO and co-founder Evan Smith
Author/podcaster Priya Parker
Gravity Payments founder Dan Price
Lucid CEO/CTO Peter Rawlinson
Autodidactic singer, songwriter, director and composer Sevdaliza and Deputy CEO of Sensorium Sasha TityanAko
Descriptions courtesy of SXSW:
Accidental Entrepreneurs: Embracing Imperfection to Unlock Scale:Originally an idea written on an Austin napkin in 2018, Bala has changed the ultra-serious, exclusionary nature of the fitness industry – a sea of lookalike brands running the same playbook; one defined by unreasonable expectations and the heartache of falling short – through beautiful, functional fitness equipment. In this session, lifelong entrepreneur and co-founder of Fireside Mark Cuban, co-founder of Bala Maximilian Kislevitz, co-founder of Bala Natalie Holloway and digital creator and relationship and advice expert Tinx will discuss an unexpected, borderline absurd approach to launching and scaling a fitness brand.
Anthem: A Conversation with Noah Hawley: Award-winning showrunner, filmmaker and bestselling novelist Noah Hawley (creator of FX’s “Fargo” and “Legion”) speaks with Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, about Hawley’s sixth and newest novel “Anthem,” a thoughtful and entertaining cultural commentary for the real world we live in that examines a plethora of ongoing issues ranging from political divisions to climate change — all in Hawley’s uniquely incisive voice.
Bridging into the Metaverse:5 Top Considerations for Brands: By answering questions such as is the metaverse a fad, how should your brand approach the metaverse and how should brands protect – and represent – their IP in the metaverse, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox Sébastien Borget will share his insights into the emerging best practices and top considerations for brands as they bridge into the metaverse.
Bringing The Umbrella Academy to Life: In this session, join writer, showrunner and executive producer Steve Blackman, director and executive producer Jeff King, producer and senior VFX supervisor Everett Burrell, and COO of DigitalFilm Tree Nancy Jundi, with senior VFX artist Carlo Vega, and game engine producer Andrea Aniceto-Chavez as they unpack one of Netflix’s biggest hits, taking you through time, epic battles and the emotional journeys of family.
Exploring the Mysteries of Undone: A Look Inside Season 2: Join us for a conversation with the cast and creative team of Prime Video’s groundbreaking, critically acclaimed series Undone ahead of its long-awaited second season. Series stars Rosa Salazar, Angelique Cabral, and Constance Marie will be joined by co-creator/showrunner Kate Purdy and director/executive producer Hisko Hulsing to explore the nuances of marrying complex family dynamics and themes of mental health with genre defying spectacle brought to life through its unique style and process – giving fans their first insights into how the upcoming season will expand in surprising new directions.
The Future of News is NOW:As consumers of news have been changing their viewing habits in transformative ways, join NBC News President Noah Oppenheim, MSNBC President Rashida Jones, “TODAY All Day’s” Al Roker, NBC News NOW Anchor Tom Llamas and Peacock’s “The Choice” from MSNBC Host Symone Sanders for a discussion on how the News Group’s three distinct streaming networks have found early success connecting with viewers in the rapidly growing digital space while continuing to provide compelling content for traditional television services.
GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM!:In this session, journalist, writer, lawyer, award-winning playwright, TV host, and consultant for the U.S. State Department Wajahat Ali teaches those of us who allegedly come from “shithole countries” how to survive and thrive in a country where you’re seen as both “us” and “them,” how to fight back, how to make sure there’s enough spices in the chicken and enough halal meat and how to defeat both Thanos and white supremacy with the ethnic Avengers and do it with a smile on your face.
How will Artificial Intelligence Change the Future of Film and Television?:Technological advancements such as CGI and digital cameras have played a major role in how we shape cinema, but what’s the next big revolution for this industry? In this session, Assistant Professor in the Department of EECS at the University of California at Berkeley Angjoo Kanazawa, actor, producer and co-founder and President of Wonder Dynamics Tye Sheridan and award-winning filmmaker, visual effects supervisor, entrepreneur, and co-founder and CEO of Wonder Dynamics Nikola Todorovic will explore how years of scientific research in Computer Vision, Robotics and Autonomous Vehicle Perception can be applied to Film and Television production and discuss how AI will revolutionize the future of storytelling.
Impact of “Instagram Syndrome” on Entrepreneurs’ Mental Health:Young innovators are suffering from “Instagram Syndrome” – the idea that everyone has hustled their way to a fully funded company and a matching lifestyle by age 30. But this curated perfect reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In this session, get real advice from writer, artist and cartoonist Gemma Correll, founder of Sprout Pharmaceuticals and The Pink Ceiling Cindy Eckert, co-founder and CEO of LivePerson Rob LoCascio and acclaimed author, speaker and life coach Tim Storey as they discuss perhaps the most important aspect of the entrepreneurship journey: the massive mental toll inflicted on leaders and explore how we can better prepare them for the struggles and path ahead.
Less Talk, More Tools for an Inclusive Workforce: You have a limited budget, a short timeframe, and a high level of pressure to support the changing needs of your company. With the world changing daily, the need to ensure people aren’t left behind is even more critical. During this panel, founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital Arlan Hamilton and co-founder and CEO of Future for Us and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leader at Amazon Sage Ke’alohilani Quiamno will share tools that can help you scale inclusive solutions fast and without breaking the bank while focusing on how we can all move forward together within the societal impacts of the evolving workplace.
Move Over NFTs. Here Come the DAOs:The latest crypto concept to seize investors’ imagination are DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations.) DAOs have suddenly rocketed to prominence as investor pools, charitable organizations and community projects embrace them to reduce administrative waste and curb middlemen’s control over resource allocation. In this session, Chief Content Officer of CoinDesk Michael Casey, founder of Big Green and the Big Green DAO charity Kimbal Musk, artist & activist Nadya Tolokonnikova and Friends with Benefits Mayor Alex Zhang will be honing in on the application of DAOs to social activism, where they could enable groups of people who share similar values and ideals to collectively organize around the pursuit of their shared objectives without the risk of capture by special interests.
Navigating a New Era of the Digital Media Business:As digital-first media consumption begins to plateau, media companies have had to reassess business models to remain profitable and competitive in an increasingly crowded landscape. In this session, join founder and Managing Partner of Precursor Ventures Charles Hudson, co-founder and CEO of URL MediaS. Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO of AxiosJim VandeHei and President of Vox MediaPam Wasserstein for a discussion on the evolving digital media business, from VC and paywalls to subscriptions and sponsorships, and what it all means for companies and consumers alike.
Podcast and the Art of Adaptation:In this session, international bestselling crime fiction writer and essayist James Ellroy (author of American Tabloid, LA Confidential, The Black Dahlia) and Chief Creative Officer of Audio Up Jimmy Jellinek will focus on their shared experiences adapting American Tabloid, with Ellroy discussing his experience taking his work and turning it into audio entertainment and Jellinek discussing his experience creating award winning, scripted podcasts.
Predicting the Future of Entertainment with Fireside: In this session, lifelong entrepreneur and co-founder of Fireside Mark Cuban, co-founder and CEO of Fireside Falon Fatemi and founder and CEO of the Emmy Award-nominated digital media brand, What’s TrendingShira Lazar will discuss how Fireside’s first-of-its-kind participatory entertainment technology is being utilized to invent entirely new show formats, along with to the rapid rise of web3 entertainment and the possibilities it unlocks for the future of the entertainment business.
Public Health – Tech is Coming for You:The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated how a century of complacency had left us with antiquated indoor health security measures — ones that were expensive, inequitable, unsustainable, and ripe for disruption. During this panel, Associate Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Joseph G. Allen, Chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Mayo Clinic Dr. Elie F. Berbari, founding President & CEO of the Center for Active Design Joanna Frank and co-founder and CEO of R-Zero Grant Morgan will meet to discuss how COVID-19 accelerated the technology and innovation to deliver healthier buildings – which is driving the delivery of more equitable, effective and sustainable human and planetary health.
Reinvigorating Science and Technology for the Future of U.S. Innovation:The state of the U.S. research and innovation ecosystem is at a critical inflection point. With an urgent need for rapid advances that address societal challenges such as human health, climate change, sustainable agriculture and food production, equitable access to education and more, the U.S. faces the risk of falling behind unprecedented global competition if we do not take action now. In this session, Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan will share his passion and excitement for the future of the research and innovation ecosystem, describe how the NSF has fueled major technological innovations and supported generations of scientists and engineers who have paid dividends for our economy and national defense, discuss how we will grow and evolve into the 21st century and drive scientific progress, improve technology transfer from lab to market and invest in research infrastructure as well as STEM opportunities for all Americans and speak to the personal inspiration behind his dedication to building pathways into STEM education and careers for everyone who has the drive and passion to learn.
That Sounds Funny: A Conversation with Bob Odenkirk and Audible: As audiences worldwide seek out new and innovative content created ‘for your ears,’ Head of Audible Studios Zola Mashariki joins Emmy Award-winning comedy writer, producer, actor, and director Bob Odenkirk and comedy writer Nate Odenkirk for a discussion about making comedy for audio and how the format pushes the boundaries of storytelling.
“The Boys” are Back! Inside Prime Video’s Hit Series: Ahead of the highly-anticipated third season of the Emmy Award-nominated series, join actors Karl Urban, Laz Alonso, Karen Fukuhara, Jessie T. Usher, Chace Crawford, Jensen Ackles and executive producer Eric Kripke as they dive into the intersections of superhero and celebrity culture, the zeitgeist shattering epic moments that redefined the genre, and offer up insights on how The Boys has navigated key moments of cultural inflection while subverting expectations.
We Don’t Have Time — Act on Climate Now: Join United States President of We Don’t Have Time Dr. Sweta Chakraborty and the creatives behind #dontchooseextinction — the campaign that urges world leaders to end all fossil fuel subsidies — UNDP Goodwill Ambassador and actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, United Nations Development Programme Global Chief Creative Officer Boaz Paldi and Co-Founder & CEO of Mindpool Mik Thobo-Carlsen as they discuss how everyone has a role to play in confronting the climate crisis and how we can utilize the power of social media to hold leaders accountable for their actions.
Welcome to Your Digital Afterlife: A conversation with multi-hyphenate, creator, writer and Executive Producer of the Prime Video series Upload, Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and futurist and an award-winning author Amy Webb in which they discuss the concept and genesis of Greg Daniels’ Prime Video sci-fi, comedy Upload, near-future technology featured in both Season One and the upcoming Season Two and their opinion on the metaverse’s impact on society.
What’s Your Life’s Soundtrack? How Music Creates the Score to Our Lives: Everyone knows the feeling. A song comes on, and it can transport you back to a moment in time, a special memory. Today, more than 6 million Americans are losing these moments to Alzheimer’s, and this number is projected to skyrocket to nearly 13 million by 2050. In this session, join frontman and founding member of WALK THE MOON Nicholas Petricca and the President of the Alzheimer’s Association Dr. Joanne Pike as they discuss The Alzheimer’s Association’s award-winning platform, Music Moments, a digital storytelling series featuring moments we never want to lose, signifying to people impacted by Alzheimer’s and all other dementia that they are not alone.
Announced on March 2, 2022:
A Conversation with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on the State of the American Workforce: Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh sits down with Politico’sDaniel Lippman to discuss worker empowerment, job growth, unionization, the “Great Resignation” and getting Americans back to work. Leading into the second year of President Biden’s term, Walsh will discuss how the administration is tackling the most pressing economic issues affecting America as the country emerges from the pandemic.
Art & Climate: A Conversation with Brian Eno & Beatie Wolfe:In this session, English musician, record producer, visual artist and theorist Brian Eno (appearing virtually) and “musical weirdo and visionary” Beatie Wolfe will discuss how art can play a vital role in response to the climate emergency, with Brian sharing his music industry charity EarthPercent and Beatie sharing ‘From Green to Red,’ an environmental protest piece built using 800,000 years of NASA data to visualize rising CO2 levels.
Birds Aren’t Real: How a Satirical Community Takes Flight: In this session, performance artist, filmmaker and founder of Birds Aren’t Real Peter McIndoe will answer questions such as how is decentralized community formed on the internet, what do people see in something like Birds Aren’t Real and what can be accomplished when these people come together?
The Bold Jump to Streaming News: With the rise of streaming, the opportunities to break news and share engaging stories are more plentiful than ever before. In this session moderated by The Hollywood Reporter writer J. Clara Chan, hear CNN+ host and podcast host Rex Chapman; CNN+ anchor, correspondent and podcast host Audie Cornish; CNN anchor and Chief National Affairs Analyst Kasie Hunt; cook, writer and author of the New York Times bestseller, NOTHING FANCY Alison Roman talk about why they decided to make the jump into streaming with CNN+, a new platform set to debut this spring.
Changing the Future of Food: All around the world, the hunger-solution NGO World Central Kitchen has sped to crisis locations to help with the most urgent of human needs: Feeding communities who suddenly find themselves with no access to food. In this session, join Imagine Documentaries co-president Sara Bernstein with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard and World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook for a behind-the-scenes look at their upcoming film WE FEED PEOPLE (World Premiering at SXSW 2022), featuring the work of renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés.
Citizen by CNN Presents: How America Works:A conversation with CNN anchor Poppy Harlow and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. Resignations, unionization, hustle culture, essential workers and the gig economy – buzz words that pack a punch. COVID-19 fundamentally changed the American workforce. But moving forward, who and what works?
Dreamers Never Die:The Enduring Power of Metal:50 years since its inception, Heavy Metal’s founders and fans rabidly continue to live the lifestyle even as they themselves turn gray. In this session, musician and singer Sebastian Bach, longtime bassist for the groundbreaking heavy metal outfit Black Sabbath Geezer Butler, President and Owner of Niji Management, Inc. Wendy Dio and host of the rock talk show Trunk Nation on SiriusXM Volume Eddie Trunk answer questions such as why has this music connected so powerfully with people and what does it mean to live an entire life by the values found in the world’s most extreme genre of music?
Gamers: The New Icons of Pop Culture & Fashion: Over the last few years there’s been explosive growth in the video game industry and its influence in youth culture. Games are overtaking music as the most important impact on youth culture, and gamers are experiencing similar name recognition as major athletes and musicians. In this session, co-founder and Chief Gaming Officer at the Kansas City Pioneers LJ Browne, VP of Marketing at FaZe Clan Taav Cooperman, gaming content creator and producer TravelDanielle and co-founder and CEO of Gamers First Kenny Vaccaro discuss how innovative video content platforms like Twitch and TikTok allow gamers to grow their fan bases in a way that’s just as influential as celebrities.
How to Win in the Future of Gaming:Technology and gaming companies are coming together like never before, innovating to level up the action in new ways and keep you on the leaderboard. In this session, join Co-CEO ESL Gaming Craig Levine; Qualcomm Incorporated CMO Don McGuire; and producer, writer and host Kate Yeager as they discuss the metaverse, esports and the future of new and premium gaming experiences.
The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks:In this session, founding members of The Kids in the Hall Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson reflect on the group’s influential legacy and their experiences creating some of the most pivotal sketch comedy of all time. They will also discuss the new two-part AmazonOriginal documentary The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks (produced by Blue Ant Studios), which makes its world premiere at SXSW, and the upcoming Kids in the Hall reboot for Prime Video.
Making Virtual Storytelling and Activism Personal:Neuroscience shows that storytelling can affect brain chemistry, moving us to be more empathetic, generous— and eager to take action. In this session, Executive Director at Avow Aimee Arrambide, award-winning stereographer, cameraman and XR filmmaker Tom C. Hall, caregiver, intersectional feminist activist, storyteller and subject of The ChoiceKristen Herring, Texas House of Representatives member Donna Howard and co-founder of Infinite Frame Media, XR director and producer Joanne Popinska, Ph.D. discuss The Choice, a virtual reality experience that uses personal storytelling and volumetric VR filmmaking to offer a new perspective on reproductive rights, and how personal storytelling such as this can influence cultural and policy change.
A Movement So New It Hasn’t Been Named: In this session, Last Prisoner Project founder Steve DeAngelo and entrepreneur, producer, director and Badass Vegan author John Lewis will discuss things such as the interconnections between the rise of plant-based diets, plant-based medicine/consciousness, and plant-based industry, how cattle, petroleum and other extractive industries accelerate global warming and how the use of hemp based raw materials and consumption of plant based foods reduce it, how the rediscovery of plant based consciousness has opened minds and set the table for plant based diets and more. All while answering the question, do these interconnections point the way to a better future for humankind?
Music & The Movement with Nathaniel Rateliff: Music has been a crucial component of social movements throughout history. A thoughtful partnership of musicians, organizers and activists can build a coalition that persuades audiences to action. In this session, cultural organizer and the executive director of The Marigold Project Kari Nott, musician and founder of The Marigold Project Nathaniel Rateliff and co-executive director of Highlander Research & Education Center Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson will discuss the careful considerations and thoughtful relationships that must be in place in order to build long-lasting, impactful justice movements.
One Year Later: How NFTs Are Changing The World: In this session, CEO of Blockparty Vladislav Ginzburg, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Dapper Labs Ridhima Ahuja Kahn, co-founder and CEO of nft now Matt Medved and founder and Partner of Raised In Space Shara Senderoff will reunite one year after their SXSW 2021 panel to talk about bridging the gap between digital and physical NFTs, the rise of ‘NFT-commerce’ and how the rise of NFTs has forever changed our world.
The Power of Finding Your Sound:How do brands stay top of mind without visual real estate? Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for Mastercard and President of the company’s healthcare business Raja Rajamannar has the answer: Engage consumers through the power of music. In this session, be one of the first to feel the beat of Mastercard’s new album and be ready to experience a priceless musical surprise with a special guest, as Raja reveals the brand’s next journey into sound.
Pulling Off Everything Everywhere All At Once: In this session, film producer Allison Rose Carter, the filmmaking duo collectively known as “Daniels” Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, film producer Jon Read and film producer Jonathan Wang discuss just how absurdly challenging the comically ambitious screenplay for Everything Everywhere All at Once was to produce and the badasses behind the scenes who saved the day, kept it fun and pulled off the impossible.
Ride into the Metaverse: How Cars Expand Storytelling & Entertainment:Storytelling takes you on a journey, the same way cars do. Through the emergence of the Metaverse, its ramp up and the phenomenal pace of technological advancements in web3 (and blockchain), we’re experiencing new media and experience formats that will change the face of entertainment. In this session, Partner at Lewis Silkin LLP Cliff Fluet, director, producer and screenwriter Joe Russo (appearing virtually) and CEO of holoride Nils Wollny will take you on a ride through the Metaverse as they discuss how storytelling will turn into storyliving through the power of motion and location aware content.
Sound of Change: Patria y Vida and Cuba’s uprising:For over six decades, the slogan of the Cuban revolution, penned by Fidel Castro, was “Patria o Muerte” – Homeland or Death. But in the past year, the motto was turned on its head with protesters clamoring for “Patria y Vida,” the title of the subversive song performed by Black Cuban artists that reside in and out of the island. In this session, Billboard VP Latin Industry Lead Leila Cobo with world-renowned and influential artist Beatriz Luengo and Latin Grammy-winning singer and producer Yotuel Romero speak of “Patria y Vida’s” journey from indie release to agent of change that fueled the biggest anti-government protests in Cuba’s history.
It Starts on TikTok: Discovering Your Audience: This session will discuss how TikTok creates space in the creator economy for artists to own their narratives, with singer-songwriter Sadie Jean chatting with US Head of Music and Content at TikTok Corey Sheridan about their success on the community-driven video platform and its impact on her artistry.
Talent in Web3: Charting a course to mass adoption: With deep, emotional connections between content creators and fans, community is the bedrock of entertainment. As the digital arena continues to evolve and further empower artists to build and grow their brands (and followings) locally and globally, President of Blockchain Creative Labs and Chief Information Security Officer of FOX Corporation Melody Hildebrandt, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of FOX Sports Eric Shanks and Head of Digital Assets at UTA Lesley Silverman will come together to discuss how Web3 will bring artists even closer to fans in new and meaningful ways.
Ted Lasso Strikes Back:Season 2 of Ted Lasso hits a little different – it’s the Empire Strikes Back nod that, as Jason Sudeikis shared with Jimmy Fallon, “starts in the cold and ends in a little chillier place than where we started. Everybody’s gotta go in their cave and meet a little green man.” In this session, you’ll hear from Ted Lasso stars Brett Goldstein (appearing virtually) and Brendan Hunt (appearing virtually), COO of DigitalFilm Tree Nancy Jundi, Supervising Producer of Ted Lasso Kip Kroeger and Editor of Ted LassoMelissa Brown McCoy as they unwind some of the ethos, intention and deep connection with fans.
Welcome to the NFT Renaissance: Why It Matters for Creators: NFT’s are the beginning of how blockchain will reshape and rebalance the creator economy; bringing about an unprecedented age of opportunity for creators to monetize their art and build passionate, global, fan bases. In this session, join Solana co-founder Raj Gokal as he delves into a discussion about this new age of ownership for creators and how Solana is powering the future of NFT’s.
Podcast Stage (presented by Shure with supporting sponsor Backtracks)
Lineup: Open to all badgeholders, the SXSW Podcast Stage presented by Shure with supporting sponsor Backtracks hosts podcasts as diverse and varied as the live audience in attendance.
The Daily Show Presents: Being a Black Journalist in America: Join Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. and guests for a live recording of The Daily Show’sBeyond the Scenes podcast. Roy will sit down with veteran Black reporters to discuss the underrepresentation of Black journalists in America’s newsrooms, how this lack of representation shapes the media’s narrative on race, and the winding, eye-opening journeys taken by the panelists.
The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz: Chidi Ahanotu? That’s how we’re fixing everything?” Those were the show’s first words nearly 20 years ago, and The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz has been sharing a uniquely Miami perspective on all things sports, pop culture and more ever since. Now, with their newfound “freedumb” from ESPN at Meadowlark Media, Dan, Stugotz and the rest of the family’s cast of characters continue to push the boundaries of sports coverage with their combination of serious commentary cloaked in unending laughter. Dan Le Batard will travel to SXSW for the first time this year, where he’ll offer his authentic perspective on a wide range of topics. As the Le Batard and Friends Network continues to expand, you’ll find a number of spin-off podcasts with new and diverse voices.
Deadline – Scene 2 Seen Podcast: Deadline Hollywood’s Associate Editor Valerie Complex will talk to the women behind the devastating documentary Aftershock. Directed by Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee, Aftershock chronicles the rise in maternal deaths of Black women.
Foundering: The Amazon Story LIVE!: Foundering is a serialized podcast from the journalists at Bloomberg Technology. The new season paints an unvarnished picture of Amazon’s unprecedented growth and its billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, revealing the most important business story of our time. Host Brad Stone and executive producer Shawn Wen present a deeply-reported, sound-rich story of how a retail upstart became one of the most powerful and feared entities in the global economy. Stone also probes the evolution of Bezos himself—who started as a geeky technologist totally devoted to building Amazon, but who transformed to become a fit, disciplined billionaire with global ambitions; who ruled Amazon with an iron fist, even as he found his personal life splashed over the tabloids.
Gen Z on the Power of Authentic Voices: With a rise in novel perspectives and values in policy, tech and impact, society is beginning to take on a new definition of innovation. By using these perspectives, we constantly develop frameworks to serve diverse groups and bring out authentic voices. But how can we leverage our ever-evolving culture to continue driving innovation forwards? Attend this live episode with the co-hosts of The Boss Ladies Podcast to understand how we can integrate the values of DEI and human-centric impact to spur the next generation of equitable change and dynamic innovation.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter Live with Scott Feinberg: An exclusive recording of THR’s Award Chatter Live with senior awards analyst Scott Feinberg who will sit down with the award winning and Texas native filmmaker, Richard Linklater.
ICYMI Live Show: Join Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher twice a week as they gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what’s gazing back.
Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain & Learn Faster: Every day — we’re sprinting to catch up. New technology. New people. New ideas, fast changes, endless updates… In our business, industry and even our daily personal life. Join brain performance expert and The New York Times best-selling author Jim Kwik to upgrade the most important technology and greatest creative wealth building asset you have – your mind. Kwik will share research, practical advice and proven tools from his recent book, Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life. During this talk, learn how to fuel your productivity, tap into boundless motivation, eliminate mental fog, sharpen your focus and even boost your memory to better remember all the ideas and individuals you meet at SXSW. This is a session you will never forget!
A Little Bit Culty Podcast Live: Is this the golden era of cult shows? As cult whistleblowers turned podcasters documented in the critically-acclaimed HBO series “The Vow,” Sarah and Nippy have a lot to say about their experience, and burning questions to ask other survivors, experts and advocates. This panel will be a live podcast recording of A Little Bit Culty that explores the relationship between storytelling, survivorship and the expanding content cultiverse. Joined by Amanda Montell (linguist and ‘Cultish’ author) and Sarah Berman (VICE investigative journalist and ‘Don’t Call it a Cult’ author), Sarah and Nippy will cover the ways and means of extreme beliefs, cultic abuse and unpack how prime time cult storytelling can impact both real-life survivors and big-time scoundrels.
Make It Up As We Go Season 2: This session will include conversations with the cast of the upcoming and critically acclaimed Audio Up scripted-musical podcast, Make It Up As We Go season 2. Series star and co-creator Scarlett Burke will be joined by Audio Up founder & CEO Jared Gutstadt and Grammy Award Winning songwriter Liz Rose, who has written original music for the new podcast series. Each conversation will lead into song performances from Burke, Gutstadt and Rose, all of which will be original music from the podcast.
Offline with Jon Favreau: Step away from the Twitter-fueled news cycle with Crooked Media’s Offline with Jon Favreau. In his newest show, the Pod Save America co-host offers a chance to hear smarter, lighter conversations about all the ways that our extremely online existence is shaping our politics, culture and the ways we live, work and interact with one another.
The Passion Economy: In this session, three humble, hilarious and honest individuals get real on money and how to find the nexus of profitability and passion. Join Jason Blumer, a brilliant accountant who teaches creative entrepreneurs how to organize businesses to scale, co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money and New Yorker economist and author of The Passion Economy, published by Knopf Adam Davidson and Meghan Phillips, a design and marketing studio owner who guides clients on how to convey their passion behind their products and services to audiences as they hit the podcast stage to discuss the rigor needed to pursue your passion in the value economy and the importance of masterful storytelling.
Ride the Omnibus: Crafting a Culture of Accessibility: Ride the Omnibus is a podcast parked at the intersection of pop culture and social justice, and regularly features and reports on marginalized voices in film and entertainment. The IATSE strike reverberated throughout the film industry, and was a response to working conditions that are not sustainable or accessible. If we want authentic stories from underrepresented voices, we need to change our practice on a structural level to allow previously excluded workers into the process at every level. In this panel/podcast, we will discuss how we can create balance in the production process that allows a fairer division of labor, increased productivity, access to all and above all, better storytelling.
Wellness In Gaming: How Creators Adapt & Inspire Over the years, the gaming world has grown exponentially, with the mainstream finally catching on. Faze Clan members have been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Ninja has been in Hollywood movies. But all of that success is due to their insane drive or “grind” online, usually at the expense of their health. In order to fight burnout, many have started to take their health more seriously, going through amazing physical transformations and bringing their audiences along. As well as connecting with top-tier athletes who have also enjoy the occasional video game.
X-Ray Vision with Jason Concepcion: From the minds of Emmy-award winner Jason Concepcion and Crooked Media comes X-Ray Vision. Join Concepcion and Eisner-winning journalist/co-host Rosie Knight as they take a journey through the zeitgeist-iest (patent pending) of film, TV and comics, with fandom knowledge and one-of-a-kind analysis.
There are normally about 2,000 artists who perform at SXSW every year. However, due to nightclub closures, the performance lineup has been reduced for 2022. Some of the announced artists who will be performing include Aeon Station, ANAVITÓRIA, BLACKSTARKIDS, CHAII, Claire Rousay, Delta Spirit, DUMA, Ezra Furman, HOODLUM, Horsegirl, James McMurtry, Maxo Kream, MC Yallah, Monaleo, Poppy Ajudha, Priya Ragu, Surfbort, TEKE::TEKE, Vitreous Humor, W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend to Cause Havoc), Y2K92 and Yard Act.
Other music artists set to perform are A-Wall, Alex The Astronaut, Angélica Garcia, bbymutha, Black Lips, Charlie Hickey, Circuit Des Yeux, Desire, The Dream Syndicate, exociety (Rav / Kill Bill: The Rapper / Airospace / Scuare), Glüme, Isla De Caras, Jerry Paper, Jess Williamson, Joesef, Just Mustard, KT Tunstall, Little Quirks, Los Bitchos, Memes, Moor Mother, Nova Twins, Phebe Starr, SELF ESTEEM, Shamir, Snapped Ankles, Steam Down, Sunflower Bean, Susto, Sweeping Promises, Tisakorean and Tuyo.
Also in the music showcase lineup are Albi X, Attalie, Bairi, Balming Tiger, Big Joanie, Cartel Madras, Cassandra Jenkins, Chris Patrick, CIFIKA, Coogie, Cymande, Hannah Jadagu, IAN SWEET, Jackie Venson, Jon Dee Graham, Kalpee, Kosha Dillz, La Doña, LAUNDRY DAY, Madison McFerrin, Miki Ratsula, Miro Shot, Moonchild Sanelly, Papazian, Pillow Queens, Pom Pom Squad, Sloppy Jane, Thee Phantom & The Illharmonic Orchestra, Ural Thomas and the Pain, Virgen Maria, Wet Leg, William Harries Graham and Wolf Eyes. Virtual-only SXSW Online-exclusive performances include Shonen Knife, Elephant Gym, Fake Gentle, Mong Tong, Olivia Tsao, Sorry Youth and more.
Showcases and presenters include Italians Do It Better, Luminelle Recordings, Gorilla Vs Bear, Domino Recording Company, Qobuz, City Slang, Bushwig, Initiative Musik, POP Montreal, M for Montreal, Sounds from Spain, Traffic Music, Devil In The Woods, Atomic Music Group, Music from Ireland, End of the Trail Creative, Fierce Panda Records, LICKS Magazine, The Color Agent, Exploding in Sound, Care Free Black Girl, Chicken Ranch Records and Modern Sky UK British Music Embassy, American Dreams, The Legendary SOB.’s, Nyege Nyege Tapes, Fire Records, Rolling Loud, The Anniversary Group, High Road Touring, Jazz re:freshed Outernational, Move Forward Music, Kill Rock Stars, Cosmica Artists + Records, Ernest Jenning Record Co., New West Records, Rocky Road Touring, Polyvinyl Records, Double Double Whammy, Keeled Scales, Park the Van, Don Giovanni Records, Nine Mile Records and Touring, Focus Wales
Other showcases and presenters include Audiofemme, Bandsintown, Bad Vibrations, Balming Tiger, Bayonet Records, Bella Union, Black Fret, Break Out West, British Underground, DIY Magazine, Double Denim Management, Empire Agency, Empire Distribution, EQ Austin, Father/Daughter Records, Field Booking Agency, Fire Talk Records, Futuristic Femmes, Gold Diggers, Island Wave, KUTX – The Breaks, The Line of Best Fit, Marca Ùnica, Motown Records, Music Finland, Negative Gain, NNA Tapes, Northern Spy Records, Paper Bag Records, Punk Black, RapTV, Rhythm Section International, Run for Cover Records, Side Door, Space Agency, Wide Awake Festival, The Windmill Brixton, WOMEX and Zone 6 Management.
Movie and TV Premieres
According to a SXSW press release, the 2022 SXSW Film Festival will have 99 features, including 76 world premieres, four International Premieres, four North American Premieres, two U.S. Premieres and 13 Texas Premieres. There are also 111 short films, including 24 music videos, 11 episodic premieres, six episodic pilots, 29 XR Experience projects (formerly Virtual Cinema) and 19 title design competition entries.
World premieres at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival include:
Opening-night-film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (sci-fi/action) directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert; starring Michelle Yeoh.
“Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” (comedy/horror), directed by Halina Reijn; starring Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova and Pete Davidson.
“The Lost City” (comedy), directed by Adam and Aaron Nee; starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum and Daniel Radcliffe.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (comedy), directed by Tom Gormican; starring Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal and Sharon Horgan.
“Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood” (animation), directed by Richard Linklater; starring the voices of Jack Black and Zachary Levi.
“The Cow” (drama), directed by Eli Horowitz; starring Winona Ryder, Dermot Mulroney and John Gallagher Jr.
“Spin Me Round” (comedy), directed by Jeff Baena; starring Alison Brie, Alessandro Nivola, Aubrey Plaza and Molly Shannon.
“X” (horror), directed by Ti West; starring Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson and Brittany Snow.
“Seriously Red” (drama), directed by Gracie Otto; starring Rose Byrne, Krew Boylan and Bobby Cannavale.
“The Return of Tanya Tucker” (documentary), directed by Kathlyn Horan; starring Tanya Tucker.
“Dio: Dreamers Never Die” (documentary), directed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton; starring Ronnie James Dio.
“Sheryl” (documentary), directed by Amy Scott; starring Sheryl Crow.
“Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” (documentary), directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West; starring Gabby Giffords.
TV shows that will have episodes premiering at SXSW 2022 include the Season 3 premiere episode of FX’s “Atlanta”; “Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart,” directed by Paul Dugdale; “DMZ,” directed by Ava DuVernay; “The Last Movie Stars,” directed by Ethan Hawke; “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” directed by Alex Kurtzman; “Shining Girls,” directed by Michelle MacLaren; “WeCrashed,” directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficcara; and an untitled Magic Johnson documentary series, directed by Rick Famuyiwa.
The lineup for the SXSW Comedy Festival was also announced this week and the participants include Anthony Atamanuik, Doug Benson, Matt Besser, Byron Bowers, Camilla Cleese, John Cleese, Jim Gaffigan, Vanessa Gonzalez, Punkie Johnson, Mitra Jouhari, Bruce McCulloch, Bonnie McFarlane, Sean Patton, Yamaneika Saunders, Dulcé Sloan, Nick Thune, Liza Treyger, Ricky Velez, Rich Vos, and many more. To see the full SXSW Comedy Festival lineup visit sxsw.com/festivals/comedy.
Concerns about the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) pandemic have led to numerous cancellations or postponements in the entertainment industry. The way things are going in the United States and many other countries, any public gathering of at least 50 people per gathering is probably going to be cancelled or postponed until further notice. Shutdowns are occurring at public places for sports and entertainment.
Here’s a list of what’s been cancelled or postponed so far. This list will be updated as more cancellations and postponements are announced.
NOTE: This list does not include individual TV series, movies, plays or musicals that have shut down production until further notice. (There are too many of them to list.)
The annual Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) in Los Angeles (originally scheduled for February 28, 2021) has been postponed and rescheduled. The Academy Awards (televised in the U.S. on ABC) will now take place on April 25, 2021. (Updated June 15, 2020.)
Academy of Country Music Awards
The annual ACM Awards (originally scheduled for April 5, 2020) and its related ACM Party for a Cause events in have been postponed and rescheduled. The ACM Awards (televised in the U.S. by CBS) will now take place on September 16, 2020, and has moved from Las Vegas to Nashville. ACM Party for a Cause events will occur around this date in Nashville. Keith Urban was announced as host of the 2020 ACM Awards, which will take place in Nashville for the first time in the show’s 55-year history. (Updated April 27, 2020.)
ACE Comic Con Northeast
ACE Comic Con Northeast was scheduled to take place in Boston from March 20 to March 22, 2020, but the event has been cancelled.
Live-events promotion company AEG Presents has cancelled or postponed almost all of its events for 2020. (Updated May 24, 2020)
All Points East
The annual All Points East for alternative rock music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in London) was scheduled for May 22 to May 24 and May 29 to May 31, 2020. Tame Impala, Caribou, Glass Animals and Kelly Lee Owens were among performers. (Updated March 27, 2020)
The annual Japanese animation convention in Los Angeles has been cancelled as an in-person event and will now be a virtual/online event called Anime Expo Light, which will take place on July 3 and July 4, 2020. (Updated April 21, 2020.
Lionsgate has postponed and rescheduled the release of the drama “Antebellum,” starring Janelle Monáe. Originally set for release April 24, 2020, “Antebellum” will now be released on September 18, 2020. In the U.S., “Antebellum” will be released on VOD, while outside the U.S., the movie will be released in theaters that are open for business.(Updated August 6, 2020)
Searchlight Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of the horror movie “Antlers,” originally set for April 17, 2020, and is now due out on October 15, 2021. The movie stars Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons. (Updated August 12, 2021)
The world-famous Apollo Theater in New York’s Harlem neighborhood has cancelled all in-person events until further notice. (Updated April 5, 2020)
The computer corporation is shutting down all Apple retail stores outside of China for two weeks, from March 14 to March 27, 2020. The re-opening date is subject to change. Apple did a similar shutdown of its retail stores in China. (Updated March 12, 2020)
Disney’s sci-fi film “Artemis Fowl” (starring Ferdia Shaw, Judi Dench and Colin Farrell) was set for a theatrical release on May 24, 2020, but will instead forgo a theatrical release and go directly to the Disney+ streaming service on June 12, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)
“The Artist’s Wife”
Strand Releasing and Water’s End Productions have postponed and rescheduled the release the dramatic film “The Artist’s Wife,” starring Lena Olin and Bruce Dern. The film was originally scheduled to be released in New York City on April 3, 2020, in Los Angeles on April 10, 2020, and in the San Francisco Bay Area on April 17, 2020. The movie is now set for release in select U.S. theaters and on VOD on September 25, 2020. (Updated August 28, 2020)
The annual Los Angeles networking event for ASCAP songwriters and publishers is now cancelled. ASCAP Experience, formerly known as the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo, was scheduled for April 1 to April 3, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)
Austin City Limits Festival
The annual music festival in Austin, Texas, has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for October 2 to October 4 and October 9 to October 11, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included Eminem, Fleetwood Mac, Rage Against the Machine, Chris Stapleton, STS9, Twenty One Pilots and Common. (Updated March 26, 2020)
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this superhero reboot, starring Robert Pattinson. “The Batman” was originally set for June 25, 2021, was postponed to October 1, 2021, and is now scheduled for release on March 4, 2022. (Updated October 6, 2020)
Beale Street Music Festival
The annual music festival in Memphis, Tennessee, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for May 1 to May 3, 2020, the event was then postponed to October 16 to October 18, 2020. Artists who had been scheduled to perform at the 2020 Beale Street Music Festival included the Lumineers, Lil Wayne, Three 6 Mafia, the Avett Brothers and the Smashing Pumpkins. (Updated June 18, 2020)
Beijing International Film Festival
The annual event in China has been postponed. The Beijing International Film Festival was set for April 19 to April 26, 2020.
The Grammy-winning pop star has postponed until further notice the North American concerts for his “Changes” Tour. The tour dates were scheduled to begin in Seattle on May 14, 2020, and end in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 26, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)
Big Ears Festival
The annual music and film event in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for March 26 to March 29, 2020, the Big Ears Festival’s announced performers this year included Devendra Banhart, Anthony Braxton, Kronos Quartet and Patti Smith. (March 11, 2020)
Billboard Music Awards
The annual award show was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on April 29, 2020, but the ceremony has been postponed and rescheduled for October 14, 2020. NBC has the U.S. telecast of the Billboard Music Awards. Kelly Clarkson has hosted the show since 2018. (Updated August 14, 2020)
Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Black Widow,” which was set for May 1, 2020. The movie was then postponed to May 7, 2021, and is now set for release on Disney+ (at an extra premium price for Disney+ subscribers) and in theaters on July 9, 2021. The stars of “Black Widow” include Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and Florence Pugh. (Updated March 23, 2021)
Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this crime drama, starring Stephen Odubola and Micheal Ward. “Blue Story” was due in U.S. theaters on March 20, 2020, and will now be released direct-to-video on May 5, 2020. The movie was already released in the United Kingdom in November 2019. (Updated March 12, 2020)
BMI Latin Awards
The annual BMI Latin Music Awards ceremony has been postponed. The show had been scheduled for March 31 in Los Angeles. The rescheduled date is to be announced. (Updated March 10, 2020)
Bon Jovi’s summer 2020 North American tour has been cancelled. The New Jersey rock band’s tour had been scheduled to begin in Tacoma, Washington, on June 10, 2020, and end in New York City on July 28, 2020. (Updated April 20, 2020)
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
The annual festival in Manchester, Tennessee, has been cancelled in 2020 and 2021. Originally scheduled to take place June 11 to June 14, 2020, the event had been rescheduled for September 24 to September 27, 2020. Before the cancellation, the announced lineup included Tame Impala, Tool, Lizzo, Vampire Weekend, Lana Del Rey, The 1975, Run the Jewels and Brittany Howard. Bonnaroo in 2021 had been scheduled for September 2 to September 5 with many of the same performers, but the event was cancelled due to water damage from Hurricane Ida. (Updated August 31, 2021)
The annual book fan event in New York City has been cancelled. Originally set for May 30 and May 31, 2020, BookCon had been rescheduled to place on July 25 and July 26, 2020. The event has now been completely scrapped for 2020. (Updated April 14, 2020)
The annual rock festival in Boston has been cancelled. Boston Calling had been scheduled for May 22 to May 24, 2020. The festival’s performers this year would have included Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run the Jewels, Jason Isbell and The 1975. (Updated March 31, 2020)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra has cancelled its tour of Asia. The trek had scheduled shows in South Korea, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong from February 6 to February 16, 2020.
BottleRock Napa Valley
The annual music and arts festival in Napa, California, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled to take place May 22 to May 24, 2020, the event was rescheduled for October 2 to October 4, 2020, but now has been completely cancelled. Artists announced for the festival included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, Miley Cyrus, Khalid, Zedd, and Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals. (Updated July 16, 2020)
Bourbon and Beyond Festival
The annual rock music festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. The Bourbon and Beyond Festival was scheduled to take place from September 25 to September 27, 2020. The lineup of artists had not been announced. (Updated April 24, 2020)
Broadway and off-Broadway shows in New York City
All Broadway and off-Broadway shows in New York City have been cancelled until May 30, 2021, but that date could change, depending on the circumstances. (Updated October 7, 2020)
BST Hyde Park
The annual music festival in London has been cancelled. BST Hyde Park was scheduled for July 4 to July 11, 2020. The artists who were announced as performers included Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Pearl Jam, Post Malone, Rita Ora, Kesha, Zara Larsson, Pixies, James Blake and Little Mix. (Updated April 8, 2020)
The South Korean boy band has cancelled all of its concerts in Seoul for its “Map of the Soul” tour. The cancelled BTS shows were scheduled for April 11, 12, 18 and 19, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)
Bushfire Relief Charity Concert
The benefit show to help victims of Australia’s wildfires has been cancelled, after being scheduled to take place in Melbourne on March 13, 2020. Miley Cyrus was the headliner, while other artists announced for the show were Lil Nas X, the Veronicas and DJ Seb Fontaine. (Updated March 10, 2020)
The annual music and arts festival that takes place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert has been cancelled for the second year in a row. For 2021, instead of an in-person event, a virtual Burning Man will be held from August 21 to September 5. (Updated April 27, 2021)
Byron Bay Bluesfest
The annual festival in Australia was abruptly cancelled just hours before it was set to begin on April 1, 2021, because a local man tested positive for a COVID-19 variant. (And this wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke.) The 2021 edition of Byron Bay Bluesfest had been scheduled to run until April 5. Artists who were supposed to perform at the event included Jimmy Barnes, Kasey Chambers, Courtney Barnett, Mo’Ju & Birdz and Kate Miller. (Updated April 1, 2021)
The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) in San Francisco has postponed CAAMFest 38 until further notice. The Asian American festival of film, music and food was originally scheduled for May 14 to May 24, 2020. CAAMFest was formerly known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. (Updated March 19, 2020)
The former Fifth Harmony pop star has postponed her Romance world tour, which was set to begin in Oslo on May 26, 2020 and end in Miami September 26, 2020. A concert that was supposed to take place in Dundee, Scotland, on May 24, 2020, has been completely cancelled. (Updated March 24, 2020)
Canadian Music Week
The annual showcase event in Toronto has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for May 19 to May 23, 2020, Canadian Music Week will now take place September 8 to September 13, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)
Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of the horror-movie reboot “Candyman,” starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. “Candyman” was originally scheduled for release on June 12, 2020. The new release date is August 27, 2021. (Updated December 2, 2020)
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place May 12 to 23, 2020. (Updated May 10, 2020)
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
The annual networking event for creative marketers was set to take place in Cannes, France, from June 22 to June 26, 2020. The event is postponed until further notice. (Updated March 18, 2020)
The annual drama event in Cannes, France, has been postponed and rescheduled. It was originally scheduled to take place March 27 to April 1, 2020, and will now take place October 9 to October 14, 2020.
The Grammy-winning superstar has postponed her March 10, 2020, concert in Honolulu and will reschedule it for sometime in November 2020.
“Charm City Kings”
Sony Pictures Classics has dropped the release of this drama, starring Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Meek Mill. “Charm City Kings” had been scheduled for release in select theaters on April 10, 2020. Instead, the streaming service HBO Max will premiere “Charm City Kings” (under the Warner Max label) on October 8, 2020. (Updated August 6, 2020)
The R&B singer has cancelled her Fort Hood USO show in Texas that was scheduled for March 19, 2020.
The annual cinema convention in Barcelona has cancelled. CineEurope was originally set for June 22 to June 25, 2020, and was rescheduled to take place August 3 to August 5, 2020. However, CineEurope was officially nixed after it became obvious that Spain would not be ready to host large-scale events during the rescheduled dates. (Updated May 12, 2020)
CinemaCon, the National Association of Theatre Owners’ annual convention in Las Vegas, has been cancelled. The event was scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 2, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)
Cirque du Soleil
The international acrobatic dance company has cancelled all of its performances worldwide until further notice, as of March 15, 2020. (Updated March 14, 2020)
The Grammy-winning original “American Idol” winner has postponed until further notice her “Invincible” Las Vegas residency, which had been set to begin on April 1, 2020. In addition, her NBCUniversal-syndicated daytime talk show “The Kelly Clarkson Show” has temporarily shut down production. (Updated March 16, 2020)
Sony Pictures Classics has postponed and rescheduled the release of this buddy comedy, starring Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin. “The Climb” had been scheduled for release in New York City and Los Angeles on March 20, 2020. The movie will, now open in select U.S. theaters on November 13, 2020. (Updated October 21, 2020)
The Country Music Association’s annual fan festival in Nashville has been cancelled. CMA Fest had been scheduled to take place June 4 to June 7, 2020. The lineup of performers had not been announced. Because CMA Fest will not happen this year, there also won’t be an ABC TV special for CMA Fest in 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)
CMT Music Awards
The annual CMT Music Awards in Nashville has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set to take place on June 3, 2020, this award show for country music will now take place on October 14, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
The world’s biggest annual music festival (in terms of ticket sales) has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for April 10 to April 12 and April 17 to April 19, Coachella was rescheduled for October 9 to October 11 and October 16 to October 18, 2020. The Coachella Festival (which takes place in Indio, California) has also been cancelled for 2021. Artists who were announced for the 2020 Coachella Festival included Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean, as well as Calvin Harris, Big Sean, Lewis Capaldi, Lana Del Rey, Flume, Lil Nas X, 21 Savage and Charlie XCX. (Updated March 11, 2021)
The annual comic-book/sci-fi/fantasy entertainment fan convention in San Diego (also known as San Diego Comic-Con) has been cancelled for the first time in its 50-year history. Comic-Con International had been set for July 23 to July 26, 2020, with preview night taking place on July 22. Instead of an in-person event for the 2020 edition of Comic-Con, there will be a virtual online event called Comic[email protected], which will take place from July 22 to July 26, 2020. Click here for more details. Comic-Con in 2021 will also not be an in-person event and instead will be the online virtual event Comic[email protected], which will take place from July 22 to July 25, 2021. (Updated March 10, 2021)
Critics Choice Awards
The 27th annual Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles has been postponed and rescheduled for March 13, 2022. The CW and TBS will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which was originally scheduled to take place on January 9, 2022. (Updated January 13, 2022)
Walt Disney Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of the origin story “Cruella” (starring Emma Stone as the “101 Dalmatians” villain), which moves from December 23, 2020, to May 28, 2021. The movie will be released on Disney+ (at an extra premium price for Disney+ subscribers) and in theaters on the same date. (Updated March 23, 2021)
The Grateful Dead spinoff group has cancelled its 2020 U.S. tour. Dead and Company had been scheduled to begin the tour in Boulder, Colorado, on July 10, 2020, and conclude the tour in Boston on August 8, 2020. These were the only concerts that the band was going to perform in 2020. (Updated April 21, 2020)
“Death on the Nile”
Disney’s 20th Century Studios has postponed until further notice the release of the Agatha Christie mystery thriller “Death on the Nile,” the sequel to 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” “Death on the Nile” was set for release on October 23, 2020 and then rescheduled for December 18, 2020. The stars of “Death on the Nile” include Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer and Letitia Wright. The movie’s new release date is February 11, 2022. (Updated March 23, 2021)
Disney’s Twentieth Century Studios has cancelled the release of the thriller movie “Deep Water,” which was set for November 13, 2020. The movie was then postponed to August 13, 2021, and was set for release on January 14, 2022. The stars of “Deep Water” include Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. (Updated November 23, 2021)
Greenwich Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of the French horror-comedy film “Deerskin,” starring Jean Dujardin. “Deerskin” was originally set for a U.S. release in select theaters on March 20, 2020. The new U.S. release date (on digital and VOD) is June 26, 2020. “Deerskin” was already released in France in 2019. (Updated March 30, 2020)
“Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy”
Greenwich Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the release of the documentary “Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy.” The movie was originally set for release on April 22, 2020. In the U.S., the movie will be released in virtual cinemas on May 22, 2020, on digital/VOD on June 19, 2020, and on DVD on June 23, 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)
“Dino Dana: The Movie”
Amazon Prime Video and Fathom Events have postponed and rescheduled the release of this movie spinoff of the “Dino Dana” children’s series. The movie was originally scheduled for a one-day-only release in theaters on March 21, 2020. Amazon Prime Video will now release the movie on September 4, 2020. (Updated July 23, 2020)
Disney has cancelled its launch event for its streaming service Disney+ Europe, which had been scheduled to take place in London on March 24, 2020. In addition, all Disney theme parks—which were supposed to re-open on March 31, 2020—have different re-opening dates. Disney World in Orlando, Florida, re-opened on July 11, 2020. Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is set to re-open on April 30, 2021. (Updated March 15, 2021)
“Doctor Strange 2”
Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Doctor Strange 2,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch. “Doctor Strange 2” was originally scheduled for release on May 7, 2021. The new release date is November 5, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)
Doha Film Institute’s Qumra Event
The Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event for mentor networking with upcoming talent in the movie industry has been cancelled. The conference was supposed to be from March 20 to March 25 in Doha, Qatar.
Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has temporarily closed until further notice, as of March 14, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)
The annual Download Festival for hard rock/heavy metal has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Derby, England) was scheduled for June 12 to June 14, 2020. Kiss, Iron Maiden, System of a Down, Deftones, Gojira and Korn were among the performers. (Updated March 26, 2020)
The annual music festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been cancelled. Dreamville Festival, which is from hip-hop artist J. Cole, had originally been scheduled for April 4, 2020, and was postponed to August 29, 2020, until the event was shuttered altogether for 2020. The event’s lineup had not been announced. (Updated May 16, 2020)
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this sci-fi remake, starring Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Jason Momoa and Rebecca Ferguson. “Dune” was originally set for December 18, 2020, and is now scheduled for release on October 1, 2021. (Updated October 6, 2020)
East Coast Music Awards: Festival & Conference
Canada’s East Coast Music Association has cancelled the 2020 East Coast Music Awards: Festival & Conference. The event was scheduled to take place in St. John’s from April 29 to May 3, 2020. (Updated March 17, 2020)
The annual film festival founded by the late film critic Roger Ebert was scheduled for April 15 to April 18, 2020, in Champaign, Illinois, but the event is now cancelled. The next Ebertfest will take place in Champaign from April 14 to April 17, 2021. (Updated March 15, 2020)
Edinburgh Art Festival
The annual event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Edinburgh Art Festival had been scheduled for August 7 to August 29, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The annual performing-arts event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Edinburgh Art Festival had been scheduled for August 7 to August 31, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)
Edinburgh International Film Festival
The United Kingdom’s longest-running film festival has been postponed until further notice. The Edinburgh International Film Festival in Scotland had been scheduled to take place June 17 to June 28, 2020. The festival’s main programming slate for 2020 has not been announced yet.(Updated April 1, 2020)
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas has been cancelled. Originally set for May 15 to May 17, 2020, EDC Las Vegas was rescheduled for October 2 to October 4, 2020, and then completely scrapped. The lineup was supposed to include The Chainsmokers, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Alison Wonderland, Martin Garrix, Tiësto, DJ Snake and Major Lazer. EDC Las Vegas is set to return from May 21 to May 23, 2021. (Updated August 2, 2020)
Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)
The annual consumer event in Los Angeles for electronic entertainment has been cancelled. Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, had been scheduled to take place from June 9 to June 11, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)
The annual music and arts festival in Rothbury, Michigan, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for June 25 to June 28, 2020. Artists who were scheduled to perform included Major Lazer, Duke Dumont, the String Cheese Incident and Big Gigantic. (Updated April 21, 2020)
“Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things”
Eagle Rock Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the theatrical release of this Ella Fitzgerald documentary, which was set for a one-night-only release on April 3, 2020. The movie will now be released in virtual cinemas on June 26, 2020. (Updated June 4, 2020)
Emerald City Comic Con
Scheduled to take place March 12 to March 15, 2020, the annual comic-book convention in Seattle has been postponed. The event will be rescheduled for the summer; the exact dates are to be announced. Before the postponement, Emerald City Comic Con experienced several cancelled appearances. DC Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, Penguin Random House, as well as individual speakers and panelists, cancelled their participation this year.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has postponed the Daytime Emmy Awards until further notice. The Daytime Emmy Awards had been scheduled to take place in Pasadena, California from June 12 to June 14, 2020. The show’s host and nominations haven’t been announced yet. The Daytime Emmy ceremonies have not been televised in several years. Instead, the live ceremonies can be seen via webcast. (Updated on March 19, 2020)
The National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences has also postponed the annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards (originally scheduled for April 19, 2020, in Las Vegas) and the Sports Emmy Awards, originally scheduled for April 28, 2020, in New York. The rescheduled dates for the ceremonies are to be announced. (Updated March 13, 2020)
Universal Home Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the release of the dramatic film “Emperor,” starring Dayo Okeniyi, Brad Carter, James Cromwell and Bruce Dern. The movie was set to be released on March 27, 2020, and will now be released on DVD, digital and VOD on August 18, 2020. (Updated July 16, 2020)
Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Epicenter festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Concord, North Carolina, from May 1 to May 3, 2020. The lineup of performers included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deftones, Godsmack, Volbeat, Staind, Papa Roach, David Lee Roth, Gojira, Chevelle, Cypress Hill and Rancid. Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival will instead perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. Louder Than Life pass holders will not be charged extra for the fourth day. Ticket/pass holders for the cancelled festival have three options: get a refund, use their purchase for the same festival in 2021, or exchange the purchase for another Danny Wimmer Presents event in 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)
The annual music and culture festival presented by Essence magazine in New Orleans has been cancelled. The Essence Festival, which was scheduled to include headliners Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson, had been set for July 1 to July 6, 2020. (Updated April 15, 2020)
Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Eternals,” starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry and Gemma Chan. “Eternals” was originally scheduled for release on November 6, 2020, then moved to February 12, 2021. The current release date is November 5, 2021. (Updated September 23, 2020)
Eurovision Song Contest
The annual music event was supposed to take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, from May 12 and 14, 2020 (for semi-final rounds) and on May 16, 2020 (for the final round), but Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled. It’s the first time in the event’s 64-year history that it has been shut down. (Updated March 18, 2020)
“Fast & Furious 9”
Universal Pictures has postponed the U.S. release of this action sequel to June 9, 2021. (The U.S. release will had previously been postponed to April 2, 2021.) “Fast & Furious 9,” starring Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, was originally scheduled for release on May 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)
Festival d’été de Québec
The annual music festival Québec Cityhas been cancelled. Festival d’été de Québec was scheduled for July 9 to July 19, 2020. Artists were announced as performers included Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson, The National, Marshmello, Alanis Morissette, G-Eazy, 5 Seconds of Summer and Halsey. (Updated April 9, 2020)
Film at Lincoln Center
The membership-funded organization Film at Lincoln Center in New York City became one of the first in the U.S. to close its movie theaters, as of March 12, 2020, until further notice. Film at Lincoln Center operates the Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center. Film at Lincoln Center has also postponed the New Directors/New Films Festival (which had been scheduled to run from March 25, to April 5, 2020) and the Chaplin Award Gala honoring Spike Lee, which was set for April 27, 2020. The rescheduled dates are to be announced. In addition, Film at Lincoln Center’s membership magazine Film Comment (which has been published since 1962) is going on an indefinite hiatus after the May/June 2020 issue, which will be published in digital form only. (Updated March 28, 2020)
Film Independent Spirit Awards
The annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California, (originally scheduled for February 27, 2021) has been postponed and rescheduled. The Film Independent Spirit Awards (televised in the U.S. by IFC) will now take place on April 24, 2021. (Updated June 16, 2020.)
The annual music festival in Dover, Delaware, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place from June 18 to June 21, 2020. Artists who were announced for the event included Rage Against the Machine, Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, Blink-182, Maggie Rogers, Cage the Elephant, Illenium, Diplo and Run the Jewels. (Updated March 26, 2020)
The annual LGBTQ comic-book/sci-fi convention in New York City has been cancelled as an in-person event but has pivoted to being a online virtual event. FlameCon had been scheduled to take place August 15 and August 16, 2020. The virtual FlameCon is set for August 15, 2020. The next FlameCon will take place August 21 and August 22, 2021. (Updated July 24, 2020)
The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed April 2020 U.S. concerts for its Van Tour. Some of the concerts have already been rescheduled for December 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)
Fox Entertainment has cancelled all development presentations at industry events until further notice. Fox Broadcasting Company’s “WWE Smackdown Live” will not have live audiences until further notice. (Updated March 12, 2020.)
Fox News has cancelled its upfront presentation that was scheduled to take place in New York City on March 24, 2020. In addition, Fox News’ “The Greg Gutfeld Show” will not have live audiences until further notice. (Updated March 12, 2020.)
Disney-owned 20th Century Pictures (formerly known as 20th Century Fox) has postponed and rescheduled the release of the action flick “Free Guy” (starring Ryan Reynolds), which moved from July 3, 2020 to December 11, 2020. The movie’s current release date is August 13, 2021. (Updated March 23, 2021)
“The French Dispatch”
Searchlight Pictures has postponed until further notice the comedy “The French Dispatch,” starring Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand and Timothée Chalamet. “The French Dispatch” was originally set for release on July 24, 2020 and then postponed to October 16, 2020, before being shelved again. The movie’s new release date is to be announced.
Frozen Dead Guy Days
Frozen Dead Guys Days in Nederland, Colorado, was scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 15, 2020, but has been cancelled. The annual event celebrates “frosty merriment featuring live bands and outrageous events—paying homage to Bredo Morstol, frozen in a Tuff Shed,” according to a statement on the event’s website.
Full Frame Documentary Festival
The annual Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, North Carolina, has been cancelled. The event had been set for April 2 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)
Game Developers Conference
The annual video-game industry conference in San Francisco was scheduled to take place March 16 to Mach 20, 2020, but the event has now been postponed. The new dates for the event are to be announced.
“The Ghost of Peter Sellers”
Film Movement has postponed and rescheduled the release of this documentary, which chronicles the ill-fated production of the Peter Sellers movie “Ghost of the Noonday Sun.” “The Ghost of Peter Sellers” had been scheduled for release in New York City on March 27, 2020. The movie’s VOD release is on June 23, 2020. (Updated May 1, 2020)
Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this “Ghostbusters” sequel. “Ghosbusters: Afterlife,” starring original “Ghostbusters” headliners Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, was due out in cinemas on July 10, 2020, rescheduled to open on March 5, 2021, and then rescheduled again for release on November 19, 2021. (Updated June 3, 2021)
The world-famous guitar manufacturer has temporarily closed its headquarters in Nashville and its facility in Bozemon, Montana, as of March 20, 2020. The operations will re-open on a date to be announced. (Updated March 20, 2020)
GLAAD Media Awards
The GLAAD Media Awards have been cancelled. The bi-coastal ceremonies for LGBTQ people in entertainment/media had been set for New York City on March 19, 2020, and Beverly Hills, California, on April 16, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)
The Glastonbury Festival, one of Europe’s largest annual music events, has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Glastonbury, England) was scheduled for June 24 to June 28, 2020. Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Diana Ross were among the headliners. The 2021 edition of the Glastonbury Festival has also been cancelled before any artists were announced for the event. (Updated January 21, 2021)
Global Media Summit
The annual Global Media Summit (GMS) in Carrollton, Texas, has been cancelled. Described by organizers as “a Christian alliance uniting media professionals globally,” the event, which includes the GMS Music Awards, was scheduled to take place from April 22 to April 25, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)
“Godzilla vs. Kong”
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled “Godzilla vs. Kong,” starring Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård and Rebecca Hall. “Godzilla vs. Kong” was originally set to premiere on November 20, 2020, and is now set for release on March 31, 2021. (Updated June 11, 2020)
Google I/O and Google Cloud Next events
Google has cancelled Google I/O. The annual event for Google developers to announce consumer products was scheduled to take place in Mountain View, California, from May 12 to May 14, 2020. Meanwhile, the Google Cloud Next event that was supposed to happen in San Francisco from April 6 to April 8, 2020, will shift from a physical event to a virtual online event, where attendees will be participate through digital resources.
The annual Governors Ball music festival in New York City has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for June 5 to June 7, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included Stevie Nicks, Missy Elliott, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Solange, Miley Cyrus, Flume, Maren Morris, Ellie Goulding, H.E.R., Banks, Of Monsters and Men, Milky Chance, Bleachers and Swae Lee. (Updated March 26, 2020)
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles has been postponed to March 14, 2021. CBS will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which was originally scheduled to take place on January 31, 2021. The 64th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles has been postponed and rescheduled for April 3, 2022 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. CBS will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which was originally scheduled to take place on January 31, 2022. (Updated January 4, 2022)
Great Escape Festival
The annual Great Escape Festival for alternative rock has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Brighton and Hove, England) was scheduled for May 13 to May 16, 2020. Balming Tiger, House of Pharaohs and Amber Van Day were among performers. (Updated March 23, 2020)
The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed all of its concerts in Asia for the band’s Hella Mega Tour. The shows have not been rescheduled yet. The postponed concerts were scheduled to take place from March 8 to March 27, 2020, in Singapore, The Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.
Mongrel Media had planned to release this Canadian lacrosse movie in the U.S. on March 20, 2020, but the movie’s U.S. release has been rescheduled to be on digital and VOD on September 15, 2020. “The Grizzlies,” whose cast includes Ben Schnetzer and Booboo Stewart, was already released in Canada in 2019. (Updated August 28, 2020)
“The High Note”
Focus Features has postponed and rescheduled the release of the comedy film “The High Note” starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson. “The High Note” was originally scheduled for release in theaters on May 8, 2020. The new release will be direct-to-video on May 29, 2020, with a premium rental price. (Updated May 4, 2020)
The History Channel’s annual fan convention in Pasadena, California, has been postponed until further notice. HistoryCon was originally scheduled to take place April 3 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)
The annual country music festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. Hometown Rising was scheduled to take place on September 12 and September 13, 2020. The lineup of artists had not been announced. (Updated April 24, 2020)
The annual documentary festival in Toronto has been postponed until further notice. The event had been scheduled for April 30 to May 10, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)
“I Am Not Alone”
Avalanche Entertainment has postponed until further notice the release of this documentary about Armenian activist Nikol Pashinyan. The movie had originally been scheduled for release in New York City on April 10, 2020, and in Los Angeles on April 17, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)
“I Know This Much Is True”
HBO has postponed and rescheduled the TV premiere of the limited drama series “I Know This Much Is True,” starring Mark Ruffalo. “I Know This Much is True” was originally set to premiere on April 27, 2020, and will now premiere on May 10, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)
iHeartRadio Music Awards
The iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles (originally scheduled for March 29, 2020) has been postponed, and the rescheduled date is to be announced. Fox has the U.S. telecast of the annual award show. (Updated March 14, 2020)
“In the Heights”
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this musical movie, starring Anthony Ramos. The “In the Heights” movie, which is based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, was originally scheduled to be released on June 26, 2020. The new release date is June 18, 2021. (Updated on March 24, 2020)
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles
The annual event has been postponed until further notice. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles was originally scheduled for April 1 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 14, 2020)
Isle of Wight Festival
The annual Isle of Wight Festival for rock and pop music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Newport, England) was scheduled for June 11 to June 14, 2020. Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, the Chemical Brothers and Duran Duran were among the performers. (Updated March 26, 2020)
Ivors With Apple Music Awards
The annual award show in London has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for May 21, 2020, the ceremony will now take place on September 2, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)
The Grammy-and-Oscar-winning superstar has postponed all of his North American concerts that were scheduled to take place from March 25 to May 2, 2020. The shows are going to be rescheduled for 2021, on dates to be announced. (Updated March 16, 2020)
Sibling pop trio the Jonas Brothers have cancelled their Las Vegas residency, which had been scheduled to run April 1 to April 18, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)
“Judy & Punch”
Samuel Goldwyn Films has postponed and rescheduled the release of the drama “Judy & Punch,” starring Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman. Originally scheduled for release on April 24, 2020, “Judy & Punch” will now be released in select U.S. theaters (if they’re open) and on VOD on June 5, 2020. (Updated April 6, 2020)
Disney has postponed and rescheduled the release of the action-adventure flick “Jungle Cruise,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. The movie’s release date moves from July 24, 2020, to July 20, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)
Just for Laughs
The annual comedy festival in Montreal has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for July 15 to July 26, 2020, Just for Laughs will now take place from September 29 to October 11, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this drama, starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, father to tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams. “King Richard” was originally set for November 25, 2020, but will now be released on November 19, 2021. (Updated April 20, 2020)
“The King’s Man”
Twentieth Century Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the action flick “The King’s Man,” starring Ralph Fiennes. “The King’s Man” was originally set to be released on November 15, 2019, then postponed to February 14, 2020, and then to September 18, 2020. The current release date is December 22, 2021. (Updated March 23, 2021)
Dark Star Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this Swedish horror film. “Koko-Di Koko-Da” (starring Peter Belli, Leif Edlund and Ylva Gallon) had been scheduled for release in New York City on March 27, 2020, with more U.S. cities to follow in subsequent weeks. The movie is now scheduled for a U.S. release in virtual cinemas on November 6, 2020, and on digital and VOD on December 8, 2020. (Updated September 30, 2020)
The Grammy-and-Oscar-winning pop star has postponed until further notice the release of her album “Chromatica,” which was originally due out on April 10, 2020. In addition, Lady Gaga’s Las Vegas shows that were set for April 30 to May 11, 2020, have been postponed. (Updated March 24, 2020)
The Grammy-winning pop star has postponed the Asian leg of her “Head Above Water” world tour. The concerts (which were to take place from April 23 to May 24, 2020) were scheduled for China, Japan, The Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The rescheduled dates are to be announced.
“The Library That Dolly Built”
Abramorama has postponed and rescheduled the release of this Dolly Parton documentary, which was originally scheduled to be released in U.S. cinemas for one night only on April 2, 2020. The one-night-only release will now take place on September 21, 2020. (Updated March 30, 2020)
Life Is Beautiful
The annual music and arts festival in Las Vegas has been cancelled. Life Is Beautiful had been scheduled for September 18 to September 20, 2020. The event’s lineup had not been announced. (Updated April 21, 2020)
Live Nation, the world’s largest live-events promotion company, has cancelled or postponed almost all of its events for 2020. (Updated May 24, 2020)
Locarno Film Festival
The annual event in Switzerland has been cancelled. The Locarno Film Festival had been scheduled for August 5 to August 15, 2020. Instead, the festival will launch Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films, an online program to promote independent films. (Updated April 29, 2020)
The annual music festival in Chicago has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for July 30 to August 2, 2020. The 2020 Lollapalooza lineup had not been announced. (Updated June 9, 2020)
London Book Fair
The annual London Book Fair has been cancelled. The event was scheduled for March 10 to March 12, 2020.
Louder Than Life
The annual heavy-metal festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. Louder Than Life was scheduled to take place between September 18 and September 20, 2020. Metallica had been announced as the headliner. (Updated April 24, 2020)
Paramount Pictures has dumped the release of this comedy, starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani. The movie was supposed to have its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, which was also cancelled. “The Lovebirds” was due in U.S. theaters on April 3, 2020, but will now be released on Netflix on May 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)
The annual Lovebox Festival for electronica dance music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in London) was scheduled for June 12 to June 14, 2020. Fatboy Slim, DJ Harvey and Annie Mac were among the performers. (Updated March 27, 2020)
Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Luca,” which was set for May 1, 2020. The movie was then postponed to May 7, 2021, and is now set for release on Disney+ (at an extra premium price for Disney+ subscribers) and in theaters on July 9, 2021. (Updated March 23, 2021)
Made in America Festival
The annual music festival in Philadelphia has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for September 5 and September 6, 2020. The 2020 Made in America Festival lineup had not been announced. (Updated July 1, 2020)
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this thriller, starring Annabelle Wallis. “Malignant” was originally scheduled to be released on August 14, 2020. The new release date is September 10, 2021. (Updated on March 24, 2021)
Mammoth Lakes Film Festival
The annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival in California has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for May 20 to May 24, 2020. (Updated March 26, 2020)
“The Many Saints of Newark”
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this prequel to “The Sopranos,” starring Michael Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Vera Farmiga. “The Many Saints of Newark” was originally set for September 25, 2020, and then changed to March 12, 2021. The current release date is October 1, 2021. (Updated April 20, 2021)
“The Matrix Resurrections”
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the fourth “Matrix” movie, whose official title is “The Matrix Resurrections.” The sci-fi sequel was originally due out on May 21, 2021, and then the release was changed April 1, 2022. The release date was changed again to December 22, 2021. (Updated December 11, 2020)
Melbourne International Film Festival
The annual Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for August 6 to August 23, 2020. (Updated April 7, 2020)
Method Fest Independent Film Festival
The annual festival for independent film actors has been postponed and rescheduled. It had been originally scheduled to take place in Beverly Hills, California, from March 20 to March 26, 2020. The new dates for the event are May 29 to June 4, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)
The Metropolitan Opera in New York City has cancelled all performances until December 31, 2020. (Updated June 2, 2020)
Miami Film Festival
The annual event began on March 6, 2020, and was scheduled to end on March 15, 2020, but was abruptly cancelled on March 12, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)
The annual music-industry conference in Cannes, Frances, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for June 2 to June 5, 2020. MIDEM officials have announced that some of the previously announced keynote speakers will still deliver their speeches, but will do so online. Previously announced keynote speakers include singer/songwriter Akon, SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor, the Raine Group partner Fred Davis, and Downtown Music Holdings CEO Justin Kalifowitz. (Updated March 30, 2020)
“Minions: The Rise of Gru”
Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” had originally been due out in late June 2020 (in some countries) and on July 8, 2020 in the United States. The release date was then changed to July 2, 2021. The movie, whose cast includes voice actor Steve Carell, is now set to be released on July 1, 2022. (Updated April 1, 2021)
The annual documentary industry event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 28 and March 29, 2020.
The annual producer/buyer event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 28 and March 29, 2020.
The annual TV industry event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 30 to April 3, 2020.
The annual event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, that focuses on mobster movies and related entertainment has been postponed and rescheduled. The inaugural Mob Movie Awards will still be part of the event, which has moved from April 18 and April 19, 2020 to August 22 and August 23, 2020. In addition, SopranosCon Part II will be incorporated into MobMovieCon this year. (Updated March 13, 2020.)
Montclair Film Festival
The annual festival in Montclair, New Jersey, has been postponed until further notice. The Montclair Film Festival had been originally scheduled to take place from March 20 to March 26, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)
Montreaux Jazz Festival
The annual Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland has been cancelled, for the first time in the event’s 53-year history. The festival had been scheduled for July 3 to 18, 2020. Artists (Updated April 17, 2020)
Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this vampire flick, based on the Marvel Comics character. “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto as the title character, was originally due in cinemas on July 31, 2020, was rescheduled to open on March 19, 2021, was delayed to open on October 8, 2021, and is now set to open on January 21, 2022. (Updated March 11, 2021)
In March 2020, movie theaters were shut down in several countries, with each country having various policies on when they would re-open. Drive-in theaters are remaining open. In the United States, each individual state is deciding when movies theaters can re-open. Most U.S. theaters re-opened in August 2020. If there are any indoor movie theaters in the U.S. that are open, most have pledged to not book theater rooms at more than 50% capacity. But given the huge dropoff in moviegoing since the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic, attendance at movie theaters was reaching well below 50% anyway. Cineworld (which owns Regal Cinemas in the U.S., and Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas in the U.K.) announced that it’s once again shutting down all locations until further notice, as of October 8, 2020. (Updated October 5, 2020)
Disney has postponed and rescheduled the release of its live-action remake of “Mulan,” starring Liu Yifei as the title character. The movie was originally scheduled to be released on March 27, 2020, was postponed to July 24, 2020, and will now be released on September 4, 2020. In the U.S., “Mulan” will be available to Disney+ subscribers for an additional $29.99 until December 3, 2020. As of December 4, 2020, there will be no extra charge for Disney+ subscribers to watch the movie. “Mulan” will be released in theaters in countries outside the U.S. where theaters are open for business. Premieres for the movie were already held in Los Angeles on March 9, 2020, and in London on March 12, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)
The Music Business Association’s annual Music Biz conference in Nashville has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally scheduled for May 11 to May 14, 2020, the event is now set for August 16 to August 19, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)
STX Films has dumped the comedy “I Spy,” which was supposed to be released in U.S. theaters on April 17, 2020. The movie’s U.S. release will now be on Amazon Prime Video on June 26, 2020. “My Spy,” starring Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman, was already released in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Croatia, Germany and the Netherlands. (Updated June 11, 2020)
NAACP Image Awards
The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards in Pasadena, California, has been postponed. The ceremony was originally set for February 20, 2021, and has been rescheduled for Match 27, 2021. BET will have the U.S. telecast of the ceremony. (Updated January 20, 2021)
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas has been cancelled. The annual convention had been scheduled to take place from April 19 to April 22, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)
National Symphony Orchestra
The U.S. ensemble has cancelled its tour of China and Japan. The National Symphony Orchestra concerts were scheduled for March 6 to March 17, 2020.
Netflix Is a Joke Fest
Netflix has postponed until further notice its inaugural comedy festival in Los Angeles. Netflix Is a Joke Fest had been set for April 27 to May 3, 2020. Announced stand-up comedy performers included Dave Chappelle, Ali Wong, Marlon Wayans, Amy Schumer, Pete Davidson, Taylor Tomlinson, Iliza Shlesinger, Deon Cole and Ken Jeong. (Updated March 17, 2020)
“The New Mutants”
20th Century Pictures (formerly known as 20th Century Fox) has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero flick “The New Mutants,” originally set for April 3, 2020. The new release date in theaters is August 28, 2020. The movie’s ensemble cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton. (Updated August 12, 2020)
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The annual music and arts event has been cancelled in 2020 and 2021, and rescheduled to take place in 2022. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (also known as Jazz Fest) had been scheduled for April 23 to May 3, 2020. The performers for the 2020 event would have included The Who, Dead & Company, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie and Lizzo. The 2021 edition of the event was originally set for April 22 to May 1, 2021, and was rescheduled for October 8 to October 17, 2021, but then the event cancelled again. Jazz Fest has been rescheduled to take place April 29 to May 8, 2022. The Rolling Stones are among the headliners. (Updated August 8, 2021)
New York Comic Con
The annual sci-fi/fantasy/comic book fan convention in New York City has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place October 8 to October 11, 2020. For people who want to experience something related to the event that weekend, New York Comic Con has teamed up with sister event MCM Comic Con in London to bring New York Comic Con’s Metaverse, a new online portal, which will be available October 8 to October 11, 2020 at YouTube.com/NYCC and FindtheMetaverse.com.(Updated April 21, 2020)
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards
The annual award show in Los Angeles has been postponed and rescheduled as a virtual ceremony. The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards had been set for March 22, 2020 but the virtual ceremony will take place on May 2, 2020. Chance the Rapper had been announced as the ceremony’s host, but the virtual ceremony will be hosted by Victoria Justice. (Updated April 24, 2020)
Film Movement has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this Chinese drama, starring Ke-Xi Wu as the title character. Originally scheduled for a U.S. release on March 20, 2020, the new U.S. release date for “Nina Wu” is by virtual cinema in New York City (at the Museum of the Moving Image) on March 26, 2021. The movie expands to more cities via virtual cinemas and will be released on VOD on April 2, 2021. (Updated March 13, 2020.)
“No Time to Die”
The release of this James Bond 007 movie, starring Daniel Craig, has been postponed and rescheduled. MGM Pictures’ “No Time to Die” had been scheduled to be released in the U.K. and other territories on April 2, 2020. The movie was postponed to November 2020 and then rescheduled for April 2, 2021. The movie’s release date was then changed again and is now set for October 8, 2021. (Updated January 21, 2021)
The annual award show in London for West End stage shows has been cancelled. The Olivier Awards had been scheduled for April 5, 2020. The winners will be announced in another way, most likely online. (Updated March 17, 2020)
Orange Warsaw Festival
The annual music and arts festival in Poland has been cancelled. The Orange Warsaw Festival had been scheduled for June 5 and June 6, 2020. (Updated March 24, 2020)
The annual Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for August 7 to August 9, 2020. The festival was scheduled return on August 6 to August 8, 2021, and then postponed to October 29 to October 31, 2021. Most of the same artists who were scheduled for the 2020 Outside Lands event will perform on the rescheduled dates. Artists on the 2021 Outside Lands bill include Tame Impala, Lizzo, The Strokes, Tyler, the Creator, The 1975, J Balvin, Kehlani, Vampire Weekend, Young Thug and Zhu. (Updated March 24, 2021)
PaleyFest in Los Angeles has been postponed until further notice. The event, which showcases TV programs and TV stars, had been scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 21, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)
The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed the North American leg of its “Gigaton” tour. The tour dates consisted of U.S. and Canadian concerts that were scheduled to begin on March 18 in Toronto and run through April 19 in Oakland, California. There’s no word yet on when these Pearl Jam shows will be rescheduled.In addition, Pearl Jam has cancelled the “Gigaton Listening Experience,” which was supposed to take place March 25, 2020, as a one-night-only listening event at numerous Dolby movie theaters worldwide for the band’s “Gigaton” album. (Updated March 17, 2020)
PEN America Literary Gala
The annual PEN America Literary Gala has been postponed and rescheduled. The event was originally set for May 19, 2020, and will now take place on September 15, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)
“The Personal History of David Copperfield”
20th Century Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of the drama “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” originally set for May 8, 2020. The new U.S. release date is August 28, 2020. The movie, which was already released in the United Kingdom in January 2020, stars Dev Patel. (Updated August 11, 2020)
“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”
Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this live-action/animated sequel. “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” was originally due in U.S. cinemas on April 3, 2020, was postponed to August 7, 2020, then to January 14, 2021, then to April 2, 2021, and is now set for release on June 11, 2021. The cast of “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” includes Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson and David Oyelowo as live actors and Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki as voice actors. (Updated February 22, 2021)
Pilmgrimage Music and Cultural Festival
The annual music festival in Franklin, Tennessee, has been cancelled. The event had been set to take place September 26 and September 27, 2020. (Updated May 19, 2020)
Universal Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of the music-choir drama “Praise This,” which was originally scheduled for release on September 25, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)
Primavera Sound Festival
The annual music festival in Barcelona has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for June 4 to June 7, 2020, the festival will now take place August 26 to August 30, 2020. The artists announced for the event include Massive Attack, Disclosure, Kacey Musgraves, the Strokes, Lana Del Rey, Beck, Bikini Kill, Iggy Pop, Bauhaus, Bad Bunny, Jesus and Mary Chain and Tyler, the Creator.
The annual film and TV awards event has been cancelled. Premios Platino had been scheduled to take place in Riviera Maya, Mexico, from May 1 to May 3, 2020.
“A Quiet Place Part II”
Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this horror sequel, starring Emily Blunt, which was originally scheduled to be released from March 18 to March 20, 2020, depending on the territory. (The U.S. release was supposed to on March 20.) The movie was then postponed to September 4, 2020, and then to April 23, 2021. The movie’s new release date is now May 28, 2021. “A Quiet Place Part II” already had its world premiere in New York City on March 8, 2020. (Updated December 22, 2020)
Juno Films has postponed and rescheduled the release of the drama “Radium Girls,” which is about a group of young female labor activists in the 1920s. The movie, which stars Joey King and Abby Quinn, was originally scheduled for release on April 3, 2020. The new release date is October 23, 2020. (Updated September 22, 2020)
Rage Against the Machine
The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed until further notice the first two months of its Public Service Announcement reunion tour that was set begin March 26, 2020 in El Paso, Texas, and continue to May 23, 2020, in Boston. (Updated March 13, 2020)
Record Store Day
Record Store Day, which takes place at various retail music stores around the world, has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for April 4, 2020, Record Store Day is now set for June 20, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)
Red Sea Film Festival
The inaugural event (which was scheduled to take place March 12 to March 21, 2020 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) has now been postponed until further notice. Oscar-winning filmmakers Oliver Stone and Spike Lee had been announced to attend the event. Stone was selected as a jury member, while Lee was supposed to present a special screening of his 1992 film “Malcolm X.”
FilmRise has postponed and rescheduled the theatrical release of director Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s autobiographical documentary about abuse that he experienced as a child. “Rewind” had been set to be released in New York City on March 27, 2020, and in Los Angeles on April 3, 2020. The movie will now be released on digital and VOD on May 8, 2020. “Rewind” will also be shown on the PBS series “Independent Lens” on May 11, 2020. (Updated April 16, 2020)
Ride for Ronnie Motorcycle Ride and Concert
The Ride for Ronnie Motorcycle Ride and Concert (which was planned for May 17, 2020) has been postponed until further notice. The annual event benefiting the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is comprised of a motorcycle ride originating at Harley-Davidson of Glendale, California, followed by an afternoon of live music at Los Encinos Park in Encino, California. (Updated March 17, 2020)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was supposed to take place on May 2 in Cleveland, was postponed to November 7, 2020, but has now been cancelled. The performers who were to be inducted in the live ceremony were Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex. Instead of a live telecast of the show, HBO will televise a pre-recorded special to honor the inductees. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland temporarily closed for a few months, as of March 14, 2020, but it has now re-opened. (Updated July 8, 2020)
Rolling Loud Festival
The Rolling Loud festival in Miami has been postponed and rescheduled with the same lineup. The festival was originally set for May 8 to May 10, 2020, and will now take place February 12 to 14, 2021. The artists who are scheduled to perform include Post Malone, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Rick Ross, Big Sean, Megan Thee Stallion, Swae Lee, Juicy J, A$AP Ferg, Tyga, Young Thug, Gucci Mane, T-Pain, YG, Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty and Young M.A. (Updated April 1, 2020)
The Rolling Stones have postponed and rescheduled the 2020 North American leg of their “No Filter” tour. The 15 concerts were scheduled to begin May 8 in San Diego and end July 9 in Atlanta. The rescheduled dates begin in St. Louis on September 26, 2021, and end in Austin on November 20, 2021. (Updated July 22, 2021)
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The annual event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo had been scheduled for August 7 to August 29, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)
Lionsgate has dropped the release of the horror film “Run,” originally set for release in theaters May 8, 2020. Hulu will now release “Run” on November 20, 2020. The movie stars Sarah Paulson. (Updated September 22, 2020)
RuPaul’s DragCon LA
This annual Los Angeles event celebrating the culture of drag queens has been cancelled. RuPaul’s DragCon LA had been scheduled to take place May 1 to May 3, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)
San Francisco Silent Film Festival
The annual event has been cancelled. Originally set to take place from April 29 to May 3, 2020, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival was rescheduled for November 11 to November 15, 2020. However, the festival has now been cancelled for 2020, and is set to from May 5 to May 9, 2021. (June 3, 2020)
Warner Bros. Pictures will release directly to home video this animated film, based on the “Scooby-Doo” TV series. “Scoob!” was originally scheduled to be released in theaters on May 15, 2020. The release date is still the same, but it will now be on digital and VOD. The movie’s voice cast includes Frank Welker, Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Amanda Seyfried and Zac Efron. (Updated on April 21, 2020)
Screen Actors Guild Awards
The 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles has been rescheduled to April 4, 2021. The original date for the show (which will be televised in the U.S. on TNT and TBS) was March 14, 2021, but had to move when the 2021 Grammy Awards was postponed to this date. (Updated on January 13, 2021)
“The Secret: Dare to Dream”
Roadside Attractions has postponed and rescheduled the release of this dramatic film, starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas. “The Secret: Dare to Dream” was due in U.S. theaters on April 17, 2020, and is now set for release on digital and PVOD (premium video on demand) on July 31, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)
The annual TV festival in Lille, France, has been cancelled. Series Mania was supposed to take place from March 20 to March 28, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”
Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” starring Simu Liu and Tony Leung. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was originally scheduled to be released on February 12, 2021, was postponed to May 7, 2021, and will now be released on September 3, 2021. (Updated March 23, 2021)
Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel. “Sing 2,” which includes voice actors Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey, was originally set to open July 2, 2021, and will now be released on December 22, 2021. (Updated April 1, 2020)
“Slay the Dragon”
This critically acclaimed documentary about gerrymandering in U.S. politics had been scheduled for a limited U.S. theatrical release on March 13, 2020. Magnolia Pictures will now release “Slay the Dragon” on VOD and on other digital platforms on April 3, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)
“Sometimes Always Never”
Blue Fox Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this British thriller, starring Bill Nighy and Sam Riley. “Sometimes Always Never” had been rescheduled for a U.S. theatrical release on April 15, 2020, after being postponed from March 6, 2020. The movie will now be released in virtual cinemas on June 12, 2020, and on VOD on July 10, 2020. The movie was already released in 2019 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hungary. (Updated June 1, 2020)
Songwriters Hall of Fame
The annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York City has been postponed and rescheduled for 2021, and the show will award the previously announced honorees. Originally set for June 11, 2020, the ceremony will now take place on June 10, 2021. The previously announced honorees are Mariah Carey; Eurythmics co-founders Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart; the Isley Brothers members Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley and Chris Jasper; Steve Miller; the Neptunes founders Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo; Rick Nowels; and William “Mickey” Stevenson. Paul Williams will receive the Johnny Mercer Award. Universal Music Publishing chairman/CEO Jody Gerson will receive the Abe Olman Publisher Award. (Updated March 31, 2020)
Sonic Temple Arts + Music Festival
Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Sonic Temple Arts + Music Festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Columbus, Ohio, from May 15 to May 17, 2020. The lineup of performers included Metallica, Slipknot, Deftones, Bring Me the Horizon, Evanescence, and Staind. Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival were going to perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. However, the 2020 edition of Louder Than Life has now also been cancelled. (Updated April 24, 2020)
Disney’s Pixar Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated film, which is the first Pixar movie to have an African American character in the lead role. The voice cast of “Soul” includes Jamie Foxx, Daveed Diggs, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Questlove and Graham Norton. “Soul” was originally scheduled to be released in theaters on November 19, 2020, and will now be released on December 25, 2020. “Soul” will be available to Disney+ subscribers in countries where Disney+ is available, while the movie will be released in theaters in countries where Disney+ is not available. (Updated October 9, 2020.)
South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals
The 2020 edition of SXSW has been cancelled for the first time in the event’s 34-year history. The event was scheduled to take place from March 13 to 22 in Austin, Texas. A public health state of emergency has also been declared in the city of Austin. SXSW includes festivals for music, film and live comedy, as well as conferences for technology, education and gaming. Days before the cancellation, several companies pulled of out participating in the event this year, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel, Lionsgate, Starz, TikTok, Twitter, Vevo and WarnerMedia. The SXSW Film Festival announced that it will still give awards this year in the jury-voted categories. The films in competition are being made available online to jurors. Winners will be announced online and not at an awards ceremony. Click here for the full story of the SXSW event cancellation. On April 2, it was announced that the 2020 SXSW Film Festival has partnered with Amazon Prime Video to make select films from the cancelled festival available for free on Amazon Prime Video for a limited time. Click here for more details. (Updated April 2, 2020)
Lionsgate has postponedand rescheduled the release of the horror movie “Spiral,” originally set for May 15, 2020 and is now set for release on May 14, 2021. The movie, which is a reboot of the “Saw” franchise, stars Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. (Updated December 17, 2020)
“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”
Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel, starring voice actor Tom Kenney, which was originally scheduled to be released May 22, 2020. “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”was then pushed back to July 17 and then July 31, 2020. The movie’s new U.S. release date will be sometime in early 2021, where it will be released on premium VOD (PVOD). After being released on PVOD, the movie will be available on CBS All Access, which is changing its name to Paramount+ in 2021. (Updated July 8, 2020)
Stagecoach Music Festival
The annual country music festival has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for April 24 to April 26, 2020, Stagecoach (which takes place in Indio, California) was rescheduled for October 23 to October 25, 2020, but now the event will not take place in 2020. Artists who had been announced to perform included headliners Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Eric Church, as well as Brett Young, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Dan + Shay, Alan Jackson, Jon Pardi and Bryan Adams. (Updated June 11, 2020)
The former One Direction star has postponed and rescheduled the U.K. and continental European dates of his Love on Tour. The shows were originally scheduled to begin April 15, 2020 in Birmingham, England, and end June 3, 2020, in Moscow. The concerts will now take place in 2021, beginning February 12 in Bologna, Italy, and end March 30 in Moscow. (Updated March 25, 2020)
The Grammy-winning superstar has postponed all of her tour dates for the remainder of 2020. The rescheduled dates for the concerts are to be announced. Unlike other artists’ tour dates that have been postponed, refunds will be available for Swift’s postponed tour dates. (Updated April 17, 2020)
The annual music festival in Milwaukee has been postponed and rescheduled. The event was originally set for June 24 to July 5 to the weekends of September 3 to September 5, September 10 to September 12, and September 17 to September 19, 2020. Performers include Justin Bieber, Guns N’Roses, Dave Matthews Band, Luke Bryan, Khalid, Halsey, Sam Hunt and Jessie Reyez. (Updated March 23, 2020)
Sun Valley Film Festival
The annual festival in Sun Valley, Idaho, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place from March 18 to March 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)
Sydney Film Festival
The annual film festival in Australia had been scheduled for June 3 to June 14, 2020, but the event has been cancelled. The Sydney Film Festival plans to return in 2021. (Updated March 17, 2020)
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The annual event in Telluride, Colorado, has been cancelled. The Telluride Film Festival had been scheduled for September 3 to September 7, 2020. (Updated July 14, 2020)
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the thriller “Tenet,” starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson. “Tenet” was originally set to premiere on July 17, 2020, was postponed to July 31, 2020, and then August 12, 2020. Theatrical release dates for the movie will now vary by country. The new U.S. release date for “Tenet” is September 3, 2020. In Canada, the movie will be released on August 26, 2020. (Updated August 2, 2020)
“The Third Day”
HBO has postponed the TV premiere of the limited drama series “The Third Day,” starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris. “The Third Day” was originally set to premiere on May 11, 2020, and will now premiere on September 14, 2020. (Updated July 22, 2020)
“Thor: Love and Thunder”
Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Thor: Love and Thunder,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman. “Thor: Love and Thunder” was originally scheduled for release on November 5, 2021. The new release date is February 8, 2022. (Updated April 3, 2020)
“Tom & Jerry”
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the live-action animated film “Tom & Jerry,” starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Ken Jeong and Rob Delaney. The film was originally due out on December 23, 2020, and is now set for release on March 5, 2021. (Updated June 11, 2020)
The annual electronic-music festival Tomorrowland in Alpe d’Huez, France, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for March 14 to March 21, 2020.
“The Tomorrow War”
Paramount Pictures has sold this sci-fi/fantasy film, starring Chris Pratt, which was originally scheduled to be released December 25, 2020. The movie will now premiere on Amazon Prime Video on July 2, 2021. (Updated April 2, 2021)
The Tony Awards, an annual ceremony in New York City for Broadway shows, had originally been scheduled for June 7, 2020. The show will be televised in the U.S on CBS on September 21, 2021. (Updated July 8, 2021)
“Top Gun: Maverick”
Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this action sequel, starring Tom Cruise, which was originally scheduled to be released June 24, 2020. The movie’s release date was changed to December 23, 2020, and then postponed to July 2, 2021, and then changed again to November 19, 2021. The movie’s current release date is May 22, 2022. (Updated December 9, 2021)
Toronto Comic Arts Festival
The annual comic-book convention has been cancelled. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival had been scheduled for May 8 to May 10, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)
Treefort Music Fest
The annual festival in Boise, Idaho, for emerging talent has been postponed. Treefort Music Fest had originally been scheduled to take place from March 25 to 29, 2020, and will now take place from September 23 to September 27, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)
Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca Film Festival in New York City has been turned into a semi-open virtual event, with industry people and the media being able to access certain films online from April 15 to May 15, 2020. The annual event had been scheduled for to be open to the public from April 15 to April 26, 2020. Winners of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival’s jury awards were announced on April 29, 2020. (Updated April 29, 2020)
IFC Films has postponed the U.S. release of this French drama, starring Catherine Denueve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke. Originally scheduled for a U.S. release on March 20, 2020, the new U.S. release date for “The Truth” is on July 3, 2020. The movie was already released in France and in Japan in 2019. (Updated June 20, 2020.)
TV Network Upfront Presentations
TV networks’ annual upfront presentations for advertisers take place in New York City, mostly in April and May. In 2020, all of these events have now been cancelled or switched to being online presentations only. (Updated March 15, 2020)
TV Shows With Live Audiences
Almost all nationally televised series that are known to have live audiences have announced that they will continue without live audiences or they are temporarily shutting down production. These include talk shows, game shows, talent shows and variety shows. Some of these shows have already taped episodes with audiences, before bans on large gatherings went into effect. (Updated March 16, 2020)
Ultra Music Festival
The annual electronica-dance music event in Miami has been cancelled and will return in 2021. Ultra Music Festival had been scheduled to take place March 20 to March 22, 2020. Performers at the 2020 Ultra Music Festival would have included David Guetta, DJ Snake, Major Lazer, Above & Beyond, Afrojack and Martin Garrix.
Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this video-game-based movie. “Uncharted,” starring Tom Holland and Bryan Cranston, was due out in cinemas on March 5, 2021, and has been rescheduled to open on October 8, 2021. (Updated March 30, 2020)
Universal Studios Hollywood will be closed until further notice, as of March 14, 2020. Universal Studios in Florida closed on March 16, 2020 and re-opened on June 5, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”
Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” starring Tom Hardy. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” was originally scheduled to be released on October 2, 2020, was postponed to June 25, 2021, delayed to September 21, 2021, then postponed to October 15, 2021, and then moved up to October 1, 2021. (Updated September 5, 2021)
VidCon, the annual networking event for video-based media influencers, has postponed all of its conferences. The flagship VidCon in Anaheim, California, was supposed to take place from June 17 to June 20, 2020, but the event will be rescheduled on dates to be announced. The inaugural VidCon Mexico in Mexico City was scheduled for April 30 to May 3, 2020, and has been rescheduled for September 17 to September 20, 2020. The inaugural VidCon Abu Dhabi was scheduled for March 25 to March 28, 2020, and has been rescheduled for December 16 to December 19, 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)
The annual star-studded music concert, hosted by Los Angeles pop radio station KIIS-FM, has been cancelled. The show was set for June 5, 2020, in Carson, California. The 2020 Wango Tango lineup included headliner Harry Styles. (Updated March 24, 2020)
The annual award show in New York City honoring World Wide Web content and creators has been postponed until further notice and will be changed from an in-person event to an online event. The original date for this year’s Webby Awards was May 11, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)
Welcome to Rockville
Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Welcome to Rockville festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Daytona Beach, Florida, from May 8 to May 10, 2020. The lineup of performers included Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Godsmack, Deftones, Social Distortion, The Offspring, Staind, Lamb of God, Rancid. Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival were going to perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. However, the 2020 edition of Louder Than Life has now also been cancelled. (Updated April 24, 2020)
“West Side Story”
Disney’s 20th Century Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the musical remake of “West Side Story,” which was set for December 18, 2020. The movie’s new release date is December 10, 2021. The stars of “West Side Story” include Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler and Rita Moreno. (Updated September 23, 2020)
The annual convention in Los Angeles celebrating the work of writer/director Joss Whedon (who’s best known for the first two “Avengers” movies and the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV series) has been postponed, rescheduled and turned into an online-only event. WhedonCon was originally scheduled for June 5 to June 7, 2020, then postponed to October 30 to November 1, 2020. The event will now be online only on October 24, 2020. (Updated August 19, 2020)
Universal Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of this movie adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical. “Wicked,” starring Katie Rose Clark and Jessica Vosk, had originally been set for release on December 22, 2021. (Updated April 1, 2020)
Winter Music Conference
The annual convention in Miami for electronica-dance music was scheduled to take place March 16 to March 19, 2020, but has been postponed and will be rescheduled on dates to be announced.
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the horror/fantasy film “The Witches,” starring Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer. “The Witches” was originally set to be released in theaters on October 9, 2020, and will now go directly to streaming on HBO Max on October 22, 2020. (Updated October 2, 2020)
“The Wolf House”
Independent movie distributor KimStim has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this Chilean animated film, which tells the story of Colonia Dignidad, a German émigré-run colony in post-WWII Chile that was revealed to have been used to imprison, torture and murder dissidents during the Pinochet regime. “The Wolf House” is now set for release in virtual cinemas on May 15, 2020. The movie was originally scheduled for release in New York City on March 20, 2020, and in Los Angeles on March 27, 2020. (Updated May 1, 2020.)
The annual World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) Festival in Wiltshire, England, has been cancelled. The festival (founded by Peter Gabriel) was scheduled for July 23 to July 26, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included the Flaming Lips, Angélique Kidjo, Kate Tempest and Fatoumata Diawara. (Updated June 8, 2020)
“The Woman in the Window”
20th Century Pictures has sold the thriller “The Woman in the Window” to Netflix. Originally set for release in theaters on April 18, 2020, “The Woman in the Window” (which stars Amy Adams) is now set for release on May 14, 2021. (Updated December 30, 2020)
The annual comic-book/sci-fi/fantasy entertainment fan convention in Anaheim, California, has been cancelled. WonderCon had been set for April 10 to April 12, 2020.The event will return on March 26 to March 28, 2021. (Updated April 17, 2020)
“Wonder Woman 1984”
Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this superhero sequel, starring Gal Gadot. “Wonder Woman 1984” was originally set for June 5, 2020, then rescheduled for August 14, 2020, and then October 2, 2020. The movie’s current theatrical release dates are December 16, 2020, in countries outside of the U.S. and Canada, and on December 25, 2020 in the U.S. and Canada. “Wonder Woman 1984” will also be available on HBO Max at no additional charge to subscribers on December 25, 2020. (Updated November 18, 2020)
The London edition of YouTube on Stage, an event to showcase YouTube talent, was cancelled just hours before the event was supposed to happen on March 11, 2020. In addition, YouTube has switched its annual Brandcast marketing presentation (set for April 30, 2020) to be an online event instead of an in-person event. (Updated March 16, 2020)
For the first time, South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals will be held online for the 2021 edition of the event, which takes place March 16 to March 20, and has been dubbed SXSW Online. After being cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, SXSW is following safety protocols to offer a virtual experience for SXSW attendees in 2021. SXSW is arguably the best-known event in the U.S. that combines music, film, interactive and convergence programming.
Here are some of the anticipated highlights of the festival:
Keynote and Featured Speakers
The lineup of SXSW keynote speakers includes:
Grammy-winning artist Willie Nelson
Politician, activist and author Stacey Abrams in conversation with author N.K. Jemisin
Featured speakers include:
Author James Altucher
Favor president/CEO and H-E-B Chief digital officer Jag Bath in conversation with Inc editor-at-large Tom Foster
Talk show host/comedian Samantha Bee
Oregon congressman and Congressional Cannabis Caucus founder Earl Blumenauer with Politico federal cannabis policy reporter Natalie Fertig
Business mogul and Virgin Airlines founder Sir Richard Branson
Oscar-nominated film composer Nicholas Britell
Hip-hop artist Dave Burd (aka Lil Dicky)
Filmmaker Erin Lee Carr
Electronic dance music duo The Chainsmokers
Entrepreneur Mark Cuban
Interdisciplinary artist Torkwase Dyson
Relativity Space co-founder/COTim Ellis
Dance choreographer Laurieann Gibson
Author/psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb
Schwab executive vice president and chief digital officer Neesha Hathi
Singer/songwriter Imogen Heap
Oscar-wining filmmaker Barry Jenkins
Affectiva co-founder/CEO Dr. Rana el Kaliouby
Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson in conversation with Self magazine editor-in-chief Carolyn Kylstra
Twilio co-founder/CEO Jeff Lawson
Computer scientist Kai-Fu Lee
Grammy-winning rapper and “NCIS: Los Angeles” actor LL Cool J
Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey in conversation with Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber
International yoga teacher, actress, writer and entrepreneur Adriene Mishler
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian
Actor, filmmaker, author, and Olympic athlete Alexi Pappas
Sony Music Publishing chairman/CEO Jon Platt in conversation with Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Carole King
Emmy-winning producer, Grammy-winning artist and actress Queen Latifah
Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke
NFL football player Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
NFL football player Sebastian Tomich
NBA basketball star Chris Webber
Grammy-winning artist Wyclef Jean
Descriptions courtesy of SXSW:
Alexi Pappas & Bill Hader on Being a Bravey – A conversation with Olympian, actress, and author of the bestselling book Bravey, Alexi Pappas, in conversation with Emmy award-winning actor, filmmaker and creator/star of “Barry,” Bill Hader. Pappas and Hader will discuss their evolving relationship with mental health in their creative, professional, and personal lives, and on the lessons they’ve learned from mentors along the way.
Are We the Smartest Kids on the Block? – A conversation with Harvard University Professor of Science Avi Loeb, and New Scientist reporter Leah Crane about the search for extraterrestrial life, one of the most exciting frontiers in astronomy. With the recent discoveries on the cloud deck of Venus and studies of the weird interstellar object `Oumuamua’, find out how the search for unusual electromagnetic flashes, industrial pollution of planetary atmospheres, artificial light or heat, artificial space debris or something completely unexpected holds the promise of advancing and maturing both science and society.
Beyond the Gender Binary – With increasing recognition of the fluidity of gender, the time has come for a 21st century approach to gender justice. Dividing billions of people into one of two categories “man or woman” is not natural, it is political. Gender diversity is an integral part of our existence. It always has been, and it always will be. The gender binary – the idea that there are only two separate and opposite genders – was built to create conflict and division, not foster creativity and humanity. In this conversation ALOK and Demi Lovato will speak about the status of trans rights in the United States and the power of creative self-expression in the face of gender norms.
Bruce Mau: Designing for the Cluster – Bruce Mau applies his MC24 design principles and his new life-centered approach to confronting the simultaneous cluster cascade of crisis that he calls “The Cluster: Pandemics – Racial and Social Justice – Climate – Food Insecurity – Governance.” In this conversation with philosopher and writer Sanford Kwinter, Mau will demonstrate that all of these global challenges are interrelated and that they have their origin in a fundamental crisis of empathy.
Building Equity In Startup Communities – A discussion about scaling equity throughout the technology, startup, and venture ecosystem to ensure a path to shared prosperity for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous People of Color in the fourth industrial revolution and beyond. Foundry Group and Techstars co-founder Brad Feld, and 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund and Opportunity Hub co-founder Rodney Sampson will discuss their strategies for operationalizing diversity, equity and inclusion in the startup ecosystem, moderated by Business Insider reporter Dominic-Madori Davis.
Can 5G Transform the Live Music Experience? – In the last year we have felt the absence of live music. Artists have stepped up and gotten creative to reach fans virtually with some amazing results – but it can’t replace the impact of live performances. As we look forward to the return of live music, artists have a new platform to help deliver innovative experiences – 5G. The next generation of cellular delivers capabilities that can take the live experience to new levels of immersion and unlock new opportunities for artist creativity. Join Cristiano Amon, President and CEO-elect of wireless leader Qualcomm, and Grammy-nominated DJ Steve Aoki and hear from two visionaries about the future of the live experience in a 5G world.
The Chainsmokers on launching MANTIS VC – Grammy Award-winning and Billboard Chart topping artist/producer duo, The Chainsmokers, are a dominating musical force with a diverse repertoire of songs that have led them to become one of world’s biggest recording artists. Alex Pall and Drew Taggart have expanded The Chainsmokers’ empire into film and television, tequila, philanthropy, and most recently their venture capital firm Mantis. Hear their story on how the duo have evolved their music career into so much more with Andreessen Horowitz Managing Partner Chris Lyons.
A Conversation with Desus Nice and The Kid Mero – A conversation with multi-talented comedians, authors of the New York Times bestseller “God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx,” co-hosts of Showtime’s first late-night talk show “Desus & Mero” and the long-running Bodega Boys podcast, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero.
A Conversation with Noah Hawley and Andrew Bird – Set in Kansas City 1950, Fargo’s fourth installment follows two crime syndicates jockeying to control an alternate economy of exploitation and graft while fighting for a piece of the American dream. Join Noah Hawley (creator / executive producer / director / writer) and Grammy Award-nominated musician Andrew Bird for a not-to-be-missed conversation about how a concert in Austin lead to Bird’s acting debut in “Fargo.” Moderated by Whitney Friedlander. All four installments of the critically acclaimed limited series are currently available to stream on FX on Hulu.
A Conversation with the Russo Brothers and Elizabeth Banks – A fireside chat between visionary directors/producers Anthony and Joe Russo (“Welcome to Collinwood,” “Arrested Development,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Relic,” “Mosul” and “Cherry”) and acclaimed actress, director, writer, and producer Elizabeth Banks (“Charlie’s Angels,” “The Hunger Games” and “Shrill”). Banks will talk to the Russo Brothers about their new film “Cherry,” as well as the work they are doing with their company, AGBO. “Cherry” stars Tom Holland and is based on the critically acclaimed debut novel by Nico Walker. It will be released in theaters in February and on Apple TV+ in March.
COVID-19: The New Reality – Dr. Michael Osterholm, joined by health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, will speak to the SXSW community about what is next in the fight against COVID-19. From the immediate concerns around new variants to the “collateral damage” we face from this pandemic, Dr. Osterholm and Ms. Sarasohn-Kahn will share insights to help navigate public health in 2021 and beyond.
Evolving the Gaming Industry with CouRage & Loaded – Gaming is taking off and bringing new opportunities for creators, brands and entertainment companies. Loaded, the leading management company for some of the world’s biggest professional gamers will host a special Q&A with leading content creator CouRage to examine the state of the today’s gaming industry and how the creator community has evolved the business for the better. The talk with Loaded VP of Talent Bridget Davidson will highlight key learning from CouRage’s successful career, as well as spotlight how brands and other non-endemic companies can work with creators to capture both eyeballs and engagement.
Forging a New Social Contract for Big Tech – Beyond privacy, revised liability laws can hold companies accountable for what they disseminate online. Antitrust actions could check the flow of wealth to the small number of companies that control platforms, aggregators, and algorithms. A lightweight horizontal regulation could add a safety layer to the high-risk applications of artificial intelligence. This discussion features U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar; Denmark tech ambassador Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen; Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager; and President & Co-founder Center for Humane Technology Tristan Harris. The session will focus on the role for technology companies in the 21st Century and what a new “social contract” could look like for Big Tech – in both Europe and the United States.
Gene Editing: The Biotech Revolution of our Times – Bestselling author Walter Isaacson has established himself as the biographer of creativity, innovation, and genius. He wrote about Einstein, a genius of the revolution in physics, and Steve Jobs, a genius of the revolution in digital technology. Though the past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet, Isaacson argues we are now on the cusp of a third revolution in science—a revolution in biochemistry that is capable of curing diseases, fending off viruses, and improving the human species. With the invention of CRISPR, we can edit our DNA. CRISPR has been used in China to create “designer babies” that are immune from the AIDS virus and in the U.S. to cure patients of sickle cell anemia. With the life-science revolution, children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study the code of life — and all the moral dilemmas this brings. Isaacson will be joined in conversation with award-winning journalist, New York Times bestselling author, and a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer Katie Couric.
Indigenous Peoples Hold the Key to Saving Earth – For centuries, Indigenous communities have served as guardians of the environment, protecting nature, respecting flora and fauna, and using traditional knowledge and wisdom passed down over generations. They safeguard 80% of biodiversity left in the world, which is key to turning around the climate crisis, as biodiverse areas are major carbon sinks. In this panel, Nemonte Nenquimo, a leader from the Waorani community in Ecuador and founding member of Indigenous-led nonprofit organization Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines speaks with Julia Jackson, Founder of Grounded.org, to discuss why climate philanthropy must be reimagined to protect the future of our planet, by directing resources to indigenous communities who are at the frontlines of our climate emergency.
Immersive Retail: Connected Shopping in a New Era – A conversation about the acceleration in changes to the retail environment and what major initiatives the retail industry is pursuing to enable the widespread proliferation of AR/VR and 3D content for e-commerce and retail with TechTalk/Studio president and co-founder Kevin O’Malley, IBM Global Business Strategy Partner Silke Meixner, and Unity Head of Industry Verticals, Operate Solutions, Tony Parisi.
Late Night Girls Club: Samantha Bee & Amber Ruffin – Samantha Bee (host and executive producer of the WGA nominated, Emmy Award-winning show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) in conversation with Amber Ruffin (writer, executive producer and host of WGA Award-nominated series The Amber Ruffin Show). The two will discuss the trials and tribulations of covering politics in today’s unpredictable climate from a unique, comedic point of view. As the longest running correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bee eventually went out on her own in 2016 with Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. The show continues to use political satire to entertain, educate, and empower viewers while keeping the government in check. Ruffin is also an Emmy and WGA Award-nominated writer and performer for Late Night with Seth Meyers, and was the first African American female to write for a late-night network talk show in the U.S.
Live Music in Venues: What’s Next? – 2020 was a year of catastrophic impact for the live music industry as the pandemic brought the industry to a screeching halt. A year later, this session brings together independent venue perspectives from across the US., including Troubadour talent booker Amy Madrigali, Iridium director of artist relations & programming Grace Blake, First Avenue Productions president and CEO Dayna Frank and moderated by Pollstar, VenuesNow executive editor Andy Gensler. How have they been able to support developing talent? What’s ahead for their establishment and how they can get back to supporting a full schedule of acts?
Melinda Gates + Kelly Corrigan Talk Big Change – For more than two decades, Melinda Gates has been on a mission. Her goal, as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, she has come to a critical conclusion: when we lift up women, we lift up humanity. In conversation with podcaster, PBS host, and bestselling author Kelly Corrigan, Gates will discuss her bestselling book, “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World,” and its stories of the empowered women Gates has met over the years. Gates will talk about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work around family planning, education, and gender equality, and she will call us to action—urging us to drive progress in our homes, workplaces, and communities.
Music’s Limitless Variations – Hear from Lenzo Yoon, the Global CEO of BTS’ label Big Hit Entertainment (hereafter referred to as Big Hit), as he explains how Big Hit was able to see what comes next, as well as prepare for the future at every critical juncture, and share Big Hit’s past, present and tomorrow. Yoon presents prospects and insights on the future of the K-pop industry and, furthermore, on the future of the global entertainment industry.
Ocean Storytelling with James Cameron & Brian Skerry – Join world-renowned filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer at Large James Cameron and National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry on a guided adventure into the deep blue to discuss the upcoming Disney+ original documentary series Secrets of the Whales. Filmed over three years in 24 locations, avid underwater conservationists Cameron and Skerry join forces to deliver an epic, awe-inspiring look at the incredible life and culture of whales and how the world’s largest mammals are facing the challenge of an ever-changing ocean. Moderated by OceanXplorers executive producer Orla Doherty.
The Quest Effect: Inside VR’s Next Chapter – Anyone who has entered virtual reality knows what a transformative experience donning a headset can be. Until recently, that experience was enjoyed mainly by hard-core VR enthusiasts. This year, all-in-one VR has become better, more powerful, and more affordable, expanding and changing the makeup of who spends time in VR. Now, that new group is discovering how great VR can be — not only for games, but also for fitness, media, hangouts with friends, and even real work. Join Mark Rabkin, Vice President of Oculus at Facebook, for a discussion about the future of VR, its changing ecosystem, and what its recent success means for the development of the next computing platform.
STARZ’S “Power” Universe Collides – Join STARZ’S Power Universe co-creator, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson; Power Book II: Ghost cast: Michael Rainey Jr., Mary J. Blige, and Cliff “Method Man” Smith; Power Book III: Raising Kanan cast: Mekai Curtis and Patina Miller; and Power Book IV: Force lead: Joseph Sikora, for the first time ever as the Power Universe collides. Moderated by media personality and bestselling author Angie Martinez, Power stars will discuss: the legacy of the Power Universe, the latest on upcoming seasons, the future and fate of new and iconic characters.
Ted Lasso: Emotion in the Edit – Join producers and members of the Ted Lasso editorial team in a panel discussion on the magic of Bill Lawrence shows (Scrubs, Cougar Town, Spin City) and how editorial is the true partner in landing the jokes, drawing out emotion, and making it feel like you’re spending 30 minutes with your long time pack of friends. American Cinema Editors (ACE) CinemaEditor Magazine writer Nancy Jundi will moderate the panel with representatives from the Ted Lasso creative and editorial team (Bill Lawrence, Kip Kroeger, Melissa McCoy, and A.J. Catoline) to elaborate on the many considerations that go into building and honoring a character across episodes, seasons and a series.
Who Controls the Past: The Tulsa Race Massacre – How is it possible that the 1921 massacre of as many as thousands of Black people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was almost erased from US history? And why is it finally penetrating the national consciousness? Featured in HBO’s The Watchmen and Lovecraft Country, this history survived because of the dedicated efforts of Black Tulsans, including the descendants of survivors, who have made it their life’s work to uncover what really happened and make sure we never forget. This session, moderated by Jeffery Robinson from Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, examines the work of activists Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, Chief Egunwale F. Amusan, and Kristi Orisabiyi Williams to take control of the historical narrative, and in so doing, to force a reckoning on racial justice in this country and a long overdue conversation on reparations for Black Americans.
Why Do We Fear Innovation? – A conversation featuring actress, author, and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik and historian, philosopher, and bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari, moderated by Tech Open Air founder Niko Woischnik. From the printing press to vaccines to artificial intelligence, the introduction of almost any transformative technology has been met with wonder as well as fear and rejection. Many of history’s greatest inventors were considered heretics – the archetype of the mad scientist exists for a reason. Why does the new still scare us? What does it take to build acceptance for transformative ideas? How does the unprecedented scientific progress to deliver COVID vaccines influence this? What role does disinformation play in shaping our fears? How can we ensure innovators consider ethical issues, so outcomes can lead to the betterment of people and the planet? What can innovators learn from artists and creators of fiction? Presented by Leaps by Bayer and Tech Open Air Berlin.
Why The Music Biz is Buzzing About the Metaverse – In the midst of the 2020 global pandemic, one of the biggest concerts ever took place in the virtual worlds of Roblox. Two-time Grammy Award winner Lil Nas X gave a performance debut of his new single ‘Holiday’ and other top hits, dancing and socializing with fans, and attracting over 30 million concert views in this revolutionary music experience. The concert’s unprecedented success was made possible by the Metaverse, a social and technological phenomenon driven by a new generation growing up online and global platforms paving a new way for people to be together, even when they can’t in person. Hear from Maverick Management music manager Zach Kardisch, futurist and CEO of Futures Intelligence Group Cathy Hackl, Roblox Global Head of Music Jon Vlassopulos, and Columbia Records SVP, Experiential Marketing and business development Ryan Ruden about how the Metaverse is shaping the future of music business, today.
Breaking the Sonic Color Line: A discussion about authenticity of voice in media, defeating racial stereotypes in voice acting, the impact of race in audio ads and how the industry can come together and make real change featuring DJ, actress and entrepreneur MC Lyte; Pandora Group Creative Director Roger Sho Gehrmann; and voice-over and television actress Joan Baker.
The Chainsmokers on launching MANTIS VC: Grammy Award-winning and Billboard Chart topping artist/producer duo, The Chainsmokers, are a dominating musical force with a diverse repertoire of songs that have led them to become one of world’s biggest recording artists. Alex Pall and Drew Taggart have expanded The Chainsmokers’ empire into film and television, tequila, philanthropy, and most recently their venture capital firm Mantis. Hear their story on how the duo have evolved their music career into so much more.
A Conversation with Icons Queen Latifah and LL COOL J: From the mic to the big screen, award-winning rappers, actors and producers Queen Latifah and LL Cool J have been major forces in the entertainment industry for over three decades. Queen Latifah executive produces and stars as the first female Equalizer, Robyn McCall, in the reimagining of the series Equalizer, and LL Cool J stars as Special Agent Sam Hanna on “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Join them for a lively, in-depth conversation about their illustrious careers in music, television and movies (in front and behind the cameras), the cultural resonance and timeliness of their series, and much more.
From Moonlight to The Underground Railroad: Barry Jenkins & Composer Nicholas Britell: A conversation with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins and with Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning composer Nicholas Britell (Succession), where they will discuss the joy, delicate nuances, challenges and unexpected discoveries from their work together. The pair will talk about their unique creative process in building a singular audiovisual identity with a specific focus on their upcoming Amazon Original limited series, The Underground Railroad, based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name. Jenkins and Britell first collaborated on Moonlight, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. During the making of Moonlight, the duo formed an inimitable rapport that brought them back together again for If Beale Street Could Talk. The Underground Railroad will stream in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide on Amazon Prime Video in 2021.
Hi, I’m Dave: Hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the best TV shows of 2020, FXX’s DAVE is based on the life of Dave Burd (aka Lil Dicky), and centered on a neurotic man who’s convinced himself that he’s destined to be one of the best rappers of all time. The critically-acclaimed first season explored ambition, mental illness and masculinity in the world of hip-hop. Join co-creator/executive producer/writer/star Dave Burd (aka Lil Dicky), co-creator/executive producer Jeff Schaffer, executive producer Saladin Patterson and series star GaTa for DAVE’s first panel at SXSW. Season 1 is available on FX on Hulu; season two will premiere on FXX in 2021.
How GenZ Duets the News on TikTok: Hear about tactics publishers are using to build relationships with young audiences on TikTok, and the content that moves audiences to action with The Washington Post video producer Dave Jorgenson; NowThis politics producer Ian McKenna; and content creator Jackie James.
Leading Safely + Motivating Empathetically: Learn how the hospitality industry have changed their tactics to adapt to the ever-changing health and wellness regulations and lead, motivate and engage their employees, colleagues and communities; eaturing Blackberry Farm Vice President of Food & Beverage Andy Chabot; Food & Wine editor-in-chief Hunter Lewis; executive chef and Cúrate Bar de Tapas and La Bodega by Cúrate co-owner Katie Button; and award-winning chef and activist Marcus Samuelsson
.Making Emotional Connections With Volumetric Video: Hear from three seasoned creatives on the most effective way to make emotional connections through volumetric video with writer, director, and new media artist Illya Szilak; Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture Studios creative director Jason Waskey, and producer and Atlas V co-founder Antoine Cayrol.
RIP Live Shows? Concerts in the Time of COVID: A conversation about the ways the live/touring industry are trying to stay afloat, what’s working, what isn’t, and what still needs to be done to save the music we love, featuring Driift general manager Adam Shore; Panache Booking and Panache Management founder Michelle Cable; and Paradigm Talent Agency Executive, Wilder Records founder and Home School co-founder Tom Windish.
There are normally about 2,000 artists who perform at SXSW every year. However, due to nightclub closures, the performance lineup has been reduced for 2021. Some of the announced artists who will be performing virtually include Indigo Sparke, Place to Bury Strangers, Francisca Valenzuela, Squid, Grrrl Gang, Darkoo, Samantha Sanchez, Holy Fuck, Astrid Sonne, NAYANA IZ, and Jealous.
Showcases and presenters include AfroFuture Sounds (British Underground & DAJU Presents), Hotel Vegas & Hotel Free TV, Damnably, EQ Austin, Jazz re:freshed Outernational, FOCUS Wales, Roskilde Festival, Taiwan Beats, Close Encounter Club, Sounds from Spain, M for Montreal, Flipped Coin KOREA, Carefree Black Girl, New Zealand Music, KUTX The Breaks, Dedstrange, Fierce Panda x End of the Trail, Brazil Inspires the Future, and ÅÄÖ…Sounds Swedish.
Movie and TV Premieres
SXSW has a wide variety of feature-length and short films. In 2021, the SXSW Film Festival has music documentaries as its opening, centerpiece and closing films. “Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil” is the opening film, the Charli XCX quarantine chronicle “Alone Together” is the centerpiece, and “Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free” is the closing film.
Here are some of the more high-profile feature films that will have their world premieres at the festival: The psychological thriller “Here Before,” starring Andrea Riseborough as a woman questioning reality. The drama “Language Lessons,” starring Natalie Morales and Mark Duplass as a Spanish teacher and her student who become friends. And the fantasy action flick “The Spine of Night,” starring Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel and Joe Manganiello. Documentary world premieres include “United States vs. Reality Winner”; “Introducing, Selma Blair”; “WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn”; “Hysterical,” about female stand-up comedians.
TV shows that will have episodes premiering at SXSW 2021 including Starz’s “Confronting a Serial Killer,” showrunner Po Kutchins’ and director Joe Berliner’s chronicle of the relationship between serial killer Sam Little and author Jillian Lauren; HBO Max’s “Made for Love,” starring Cristin Milioti as a divorcée who’s out for revenge; and the third season of Starz’s “The Girlfriend Experience” and Amazon Prime Video’s thriller series “Them.”
Culture Representation: Taking place in various locations in Southern California, the music documentary “Desolation Center” interviews a racially diverse group of people (white, African American, Latino and Asian) talking about the notable 1980s rock concerts promoted by the independent team Desolation Center, with commentaries from artists, fans and behind-the-scenes industry people.
Culture Clash: Desolation Center concerts, which rejected anything that was corporate, often operated outside the law by not filing permits and by being held in unconventional places.
Culture Audience: “Desolation Center” will appeal primarily to people interested in the non-mainstream Los Angeles rock scene in the 1980s and stories about music festivals.
Imagine a well-attended music festival that takes place in the California desert. Event permits weren’t filed, people were transported by school bus to the festival, and most attendees were so excited about going that they didn’t think about bringing sunscreen, water or food. And there wouldn’t be any vendors at the festival to sell anything. This festival obviously isn’t Coachella.
The documentary film “Desolation Center” is a nostalgic and fascinating look at five of the biggest concerts staged by a Los Angeles-based independent promotion team called Desolation Center. In its relatively short existence (1983 to 1986), Desolation Center influenced several festivals that ended up becoming corporate behemoths, including Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella. The five Desolation Center concerts that get the spotlight in the documentary are Mohave Exodus, Mohave Auzug, Joy at Sea, Gila Monster Jamboree and Solstice.
“Desolation Center” director Stuart Swezey, who also appears on camera for his commentary, is the best person to helm this documentary, since he founded Desolation Center and had hands-on involvement in every show presented by the team. His deep history with Desolation Center serves this film well, since it’s packed with a lot of great archival photos and video footage, as well as an extremely well-rounded set of interviews from artists, fans and behind-the-scenes industry people who usually have first-hand accounts of Desolation Center shows.
Artists interviewed include the members of Sonic Youth (except for Kim Gordon), Meat Puppets, Minutemen, Redd Kross and Einstürzende Neubauten. Also giving an artist perspective are Perry Farrell (co-founder of Lollapalooza Festival and the band Jane’s Addiction); Aaron Sherer (who was in Psi Com, Farrell’s pre-Jane’s Addicition band); Kurt Schellenbach of Nip Drivers; Suzi Gardner of L7; Michael Gra of Swans; Dan Bolles of the Germs; Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag; Steve Housden of Lawndale; Ian Rakow of Valley Punk; F.M. Einheit; artist Anthony Ausgang; noise musician Boyd Rice; performance artist Ron Athey; poet John Tottenham; and performance artists Mark Pauline and Matt Heckert of Survival Research Laboratories.
Unlike many music documentaries that shun or limit perspectives of non-famous fans, “Desolation Center” gives almost as much screen time to fans as it does the artists. Among the fans who share their fond memories of Desolation Center shows are poet Maw Shein Win; musician Sean DeLear; community organizer Linda Kite; costumer designer Nancy Steiner; Sandy Glaze; Lisa Derrick; Janet Housden; Easter Seals COO Bev Mendes; artist Kristine Kryttre; Bertell Ferguson; Skip King; ML Compton; Mike Guerena; Fourway Cross bandmates Courtney Davies, Steve Gerdes and Tom Dolan; and married couple Joy and Ken Abbott, who’ve been together since the ’80s.
Also giving their insight are Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar; Burning Man co-founder John Law; indie music operative Carmel Conlin; SST producer Spot; photographer/musician Mariska Leyssius; sound engineer Ed Cirino of Gold Sound; Re/Search Publications editor/publisher V. Vale, music publisher Adam Wolf; and journalists Chris Morris, Simon Reynolds, Joseph Bien-Khan.
“Desolation Center” begins with a contextual backdrop of what was going on in the Los Angeles music scene during the 1980s that laid the groundwork to form Desolation Center. If there’s any villain of this story, it’s Daryl Gates, who was chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) from 1978 to 1992. DeLear calls Gates “rotten” and “creepy” in the documentary.
And several people who comment in the film, including Swezey, describe the LAPD under Gates’ leadership as an oppressive force that targeted punk rock musicians and fans for harassment and arrests. Bolles says, “The LAPD freaked out about punk rock, like it was the second coming of the Black Panthers.”
Therefore, nightclubs and bars in Los Angeles that booked punk artists frequently had those shows shut down or heavily enforced by the LAPD. Meat Puppets lead singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood adds, “It seems like they [the LAPD] were going through the newspaper and finding bands that sounded punk rock and making sure they didn’t happen.” Performance artist Athey comments on Los Angeles: “I grew up here. I wasn’t enlightened that you could live in a non-police state, so you figured out how to skirt around it.”
The good news is that in the early 1980s, the alternative/underground music scene was very diverse, in terms of race, gender, sexuality and economic backgrounds. Kite, who was the fiancée of Minutemen singer/guitarist D. Boone, comments on the Los Angeles punk/underground music scene during this era: “There was just as much people of color in it as there were white kids. Bands were multicultural, as well as the scene was multicultural.”
This diversity was in stark contrast to Los Angeles’ heavy metal scene and classic rock scene, which pretty much excluded musicians who weren’t straight white males. Another big difference between the punk scene and communities for other rock genres was that punk was all about rejecting conformity and corporate greed.
Swezey comments in the documentary: “In the early ’80s, I think the rest of the world saw L.A. as this brain-dead, sun baked, smoggy sprawl—which it kind of was. For those of us who grew up here, the early ’80s was actually a really vital and interesting time.”
Before Swezey founded Desolation Center, he was a 21-year-old college dropout doing phone sales for a municipal broker in 1982. Although he was a fan of punk music and went to a lot of shows, he wasn’t inspired to become a show promoter until he saw a Throbbing Gristle concert and later met its promoter Michael Sheppard. Swezey says of that fateful Throbbing Gristle show: “Their sonic assault changed the way I thought of music and performance forever.”
He took the plunge to form Desolation Center in 1983, as an independent collective to promote “alternative” rock and performance artists. At the time, Swezey was living in a very seedy and run-down part of downtown Los Angeles. He says he came up with the name Desolation Center “because that’s how I was feeling about my environment at the time.”
Desolation Center was born out of nonconformity, not just because of punk ideals but also out of financial necessity. The tiny start-up didn’t have the budget to book artists at established nightclubs and advertise those types of shows. Therefore, Swezey and Desolation Center had the great idea to do the opposite of what most concert promoters were doing.
Desolation Center booked shows in abandoned warehouses and other under-the-radar places. The shows also didn’t follow industry norms: Guests lists weren’t allowed, everyone had to pay to get inside, and the shows didn’t sell alcohol (which would get the attention of the police), but people of legal drinking age were allowed to bring their own alcohol. Desolation Center also didn’t advertise its shows and did not court publicity.
Having these shows in non-traditional venues also allowed Desolation Center to not have to deal with Ticketmaster or city permits to put on these shows. And finding about these shows, not through advertising or media publicity, but through word of mouth, gave Desolation Center a cool, underground reputation with fans. Nowadays, with insurance liabilities being more of a concern for artists and promoters, an outfit like Desolation Center wouldn’t have been able to stay in business for as long as it did.
It wasn’t long before Desolation Center wanted to do something bigger than just a small show in a warehouse, without having to go to a traditional large venue. After taking a road trip through the Sonora Desert in Mexico, Swezey was inspired to have the first Desolation Center festival in the desert. He approached Savage Republic band member Bruce Licher, who came up with the idea to have the show in the Mohave Desert, about three hours east outside of Los Angeles.
That show ended up being a mini-festival called Mohave Exodus, which took place on April 24, 1983, and featured performances by Savage Republic and Minutemen. Licher had access to a printing press, so he was essentially in charge of making the tickets and signage that were used for the show. Farrell says of Licher: “He was like the Benjamin Franklin of our scene.”
Getting to the concert site was unconventional. There was a secret place in downtown L.A. where ticketholders were told to meet. From there, rented school buses took them to the remote area in the desert. Many of the fans were completely unaware of how hot the desert heat would be and were decked out in full-on heavy punk gear.
Kryttre, an artist who attended the event, remembers how driving to the concert site was a challenge because some of truck stop managers would lock their restrooms when they saw all the “alternative”-looking young people coming out of the buses to use the restrooms. The way these fans looked back then wouldn’t be considered a big deal today, but it was a big deal back then.
The concert was so bare-bones and do-it-yourself that nothing was set up in the middle of the desert except for the band’s equipment and sound system. There was no stage separating the band from the audience. Most concertgoers had to sit on the hard desert ground, although some people thought of bringing lawn chairs. And forget about places to eat, drink and use toilets at the concert site. There weren’t any.
And they weren’t prepared for the forceful desert winds in the area. Sound engineer Cirino remembers that socks had to be put on microphones, and the buses had to be parked behind the bands to form a wall that would be a wind barrier. It was about as unglamorous and uncomfortable as you can imagine. But looking back on it, the concertgoers and band members interviewed in the documentary say they loved the experience.
Win comments, “I felt we were these young people creating this great, alternative world for ourselves out in the desert.” Guerena says, “There was no violence, no weirdness. It was like everybody was in this one cool group.” Joy Abbott adds, “I just remember thinking, ‘This is one of the coolest things I’ll ever do in my whole life.'”
After the Mohave Exodus show, Swezey quit his day job and went backpacking around Europe. While he was in West Berlin, he saw German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten perform for the first time and was completely awed by the experience. It was around this time that Swezey saw director Werner Herzog’s epic 1982 movie “Fitzcarraldo,” which also gave Swezey the idea for the next big Desolation Center festival.
In “Fitzcarraldo,” a European opera fan becomes obsessed with building an opera house in the Peruvian jungle. Swezey explains how Einstürzende Neubauten and “Fiztcarraldo” inspired him: Instead of bringing opera to the jungle, he wanted to bring industrial music to the desert.
And that led to the Desolation Center show Mohave Auzug, held in Mecca, California, on March 4, 1984. Einstürzende Neubauten headlined the show, which was more elaborate—and crazier and more dangerous—than Mohave Exodus. A pacifist percussion group Djemaa-El-Fna greeted concertgoers as they arrived.
But that peaceful atmosphere was quickly destroyed by Survival Research Laboratories, a rebellious group of performance artists (whose most famous member is Mark Pauline), who loved to literally blow things up. And the desert was their playground at the show, as they set off explosives in a cave, as well as other places outside, despite the objections of Djemaa-El-Fna and some concertgoers.
Luckily, no one was hurt at Mohave Auzug by these explosions. Pauline and the rest of the anarchists look back with no regrets and say the explosions were all in the name of fun and performance art. Lawndale band member Housden remembers that at this industrial-oriented concert, power tools were used as musical instruments and other playthings: “They were giving a hard time to our dad’s power tools … They ruined them.”
With two well-received desert concerts under his belt, Swezey decided that the next big Desolation Center concert would be at an opposite location: on the water. The Joy at Sea concert was held in the San Pedro Harbor in California, on June 15, 1984. The headliners were San Pedro hometown band Minutemen and Arizona-based band Meat Puppets. Meat Puppets bass player Cris Kirkwood says of the experience: “It was one of the highlights of my musical career in a lot of ways—just magical as crap.”
Then, it was back to the California desert. Gila Monster Jamboree was Desolation Center’s biggest event yet, and is probably considered the most important one for Desolation Center. Taking place on January 5, 1985, the bill included Sonic Youth (in the New York City band’s West Coast debut), Meat Puppets, Redd Kross and Psi Com, which was Farrell’s band before he formed Jane’s Addiction.
In the documentary, Farrell admits that Psi Com got the gig because he was Swezey’s roommate at the time. “It was really cool, so I thank you for that,” Farrell says. Meat Puppets frontman Curt Kirkwood remembers that everybody at the concert seemed to be in a good mood because most people were flying high on LSD. Montgomery, one of the fans at the concert, says: “There were very few people who weren’t tripping.”
Unlike previous Desolation Center concerts in the desert, where the concertgoers could only get there by Desolation Center’s provided buses, Gila Monster Jamboree gave concertgoers the option to take their own transportation to the concert site, although bus transportation was still provided for those who wanted it. There were was still none of the commercial trappings (merchandise booths and food vendors), sanitary facilities, or safety precautions that are presumed for today’s music festivals. Because, just like other Desolation Center concerts, the promoters didn’t have a permit to hold the event.
Steve and Jeff McDonald, the brothers who co-founded Redd Kross, remember the nerve-racking experience of having a driver who got lost for hours, making the band very late for the concert. Redd Kross was the first “glam rock” band to perform at a Desolation Center festival. And ironically, the band was so late, the members of Redd Kross didn’t have time to change into their glammed-up stage clothes and instead performed in jeans and sweatpants, which was outside their comfort zone for their stage wardrobe.
Desolation Center’s permit-avoiding ways eventually caught up to the team, which was fined $400 for the Gila Monster Jamboree show. Swezey says that $400 was a lot of money to them at the time. So, in true D.I.Y. fashion, Desolation Center held a Trespass Benefit show to raise funds to pay off the fine. Minutemen and Nip Drivers performed at the fundraising concert, which was held at the Anti Club on Augusts 4, 1985.
Desolation Center’s last big hurrah was the Solstice concert on December 21, 1985. Sonic Youth and Swans topped the bill for the show, which had the unusual distinction of being partially funded by the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). Swezey says that a friend who received NEA grant money approached him to do the show.
But tragedy struck on December 22, 1985, when Minutemen lead singer D. Boone was killed in a car accident that injured his fiancée Kite and permanently disabled Kite’s sister. It was an end of an era. Swezey says in the documentary that Boone’s death and the stricter laws being enforced for concert promotion led to the decision to say goodbye to Desolation Center and move on to other things. Swezey then founded Amok Books, an alternative publishing company.
“Desolation Center” isn’t just for people who remember what it was like to be a fan of alternative music in the early ’80s. It’s the type of documentary that people of many generations can enjoy if they like the bands in the film and if they want to get a meaningful historical time capsule of a specific subculture of the Los Angeles music scene in the early-to-mid-1980s.
It might also make people wistful for a bygone era when people went to concerts and festivals and lived in the moment, instead of worrying about how things were going to look on social media. Remarkably, no one was killed or maimed at a Desolation Center concert, which is in stark contrast to all the concerts that have happened since the ’80s that have experienced mass shootings, bombings and other weapons of war against innocent concertgoers.
Desolation Center wasn’t exactly about “peace and love” all the time, but one of its greatest legacies that’s been largely abandoned by most big concert promoters is that the shows embraced people from all sorts of backgrounds, by not excluding people through ticket prices that are too high for certain people’s budgets. Those days might be long gone for music festivals, but this documentary is a significant reminder of how it was possible back in the ’80s and how well it worked.
Passion River Films released “Desolation Center” on digital, VOD and DVD on June 23, 2020.
Culture Representation: This official documentary about the first 20 years of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (an annual event in Indio, California) includes interviews with a racially diverse group of Coachella employees, artists and other associates.
Culture Clash: Coachella was a money-losing festival in its first few years and has grown into a major money-making event in pop culture, even though some critics believe Coachella has become too trendy and high-priced.
Culture Audience: “Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert” will primarily appeal to music fans and people who want to learn more about Goldenvoice, the concert-promotion company behind Coachella.
If you’re looking for shocking behind-the-scenes stories in the documentary “Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert,” then you’ll probably be disappointed. But this feel-good movie, directed by Chris Perkel, is a traditionally made chronicle of one the world’s most famous music festivals. The reason for this family-friendly portrayal of Coachella’s history (besides the fact that it’s available for free viewing on YouTube) is because Goldenvoice, the Los Angeles concert-promotion company behind Coachella, is one of the production companies that made this movie. In other words, this is not really an investigative documentary as much as it is a feature-length promotional video for Coachella.
Although some people in the movie talk about the festival’s early problems, there is absolutely no criticism of Coachella. Pretty much everyone who’s interviewed in the film gives praise to Coachella is some way. The movie’s biggest strengths are the musical performances that are in the film, as well as some interesting tidbits of information that aren’t very surprising, since most of the information in the movie has already been revealed in previous media coverage of Coachella.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, like most pop-culture phenomena, didn’t start out as something that people immediately thought would be a hit. The festival was launched in 1999, the same year that large-scale music festivals got a very bad name because of the disastrous Woodstock ’99 Festival, which ended with riots, arson, assaults and thefts. The first Coachella, which took place in October 1999, was announced the Monday after Woodstock ’99 (which took place in August in upstate New York) got a lot of backlash for ending in such a catastrophe. And the site for Coachella was an unorthodox risk—the Empire Polo Club in the desert city of Indio, California, which is about 128 miles east of Los Angeles.
According to Goldenvoice president/Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett (the person with the most screen time in the movie), Coachella had two things going for it that most other large-scale music festivals did not: The promise of a laid-back California vibe and California’s sunny weather, which made the chances very slim that Coachella would be plagued by the kind of rain that often wreaks havoc on festivals that are east of California.
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) founder Pasquale Rotella, who says his business models for EDC and his other festivals were heavily influenced by Coachella, had this to say: “Some people who see Coachella now think, ‘Oh, that’s a no-brainer.’ Coachella is beautiful now [but] it was difficult. It took the concert promoter Goldenvoice several years to make it happen. And if it wasn’t for Goldenvoice’s roots, I don’t think Coachella would be what it is today.
“Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert” is divided into five chapters, with two chapters focused on specific music genres: “Chapter One: Origins,” “Chapter Two: The Early Years”; “Chapter Three: The Rise of Robots” (focusing on electronic dance music); “Chapter Four: The New Beats” (focusing on hip-hop); and “Chapter Five: The Next Generation.”
“Chapter One: Origins” has the history of the early years of Goldenvoice, which Gary Tovar launched in 1981 as an independent concert-promotion company whose specialty was booking punk and alternative rock bands at small venues in the Los Angeles area. Tovar says in the documentary: “When I started doing concerts, the punk rock that I did was too wild for some people.” Slamdancing and violence were very common at these shows, so many venues were reluctant to have shows that Goldenvoice was promoting.
By the mid-1980s, Goldenvoice’s influence grew to booking larger venues and helped launch the careers of acts such as Jane’s Addiction, Fishbone and Red Hot Chili Peppers. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, many of those acts had outgrown Goldenvoice, which was still mainly booking nightclubs and small theaters. But the relationships that Goldenvoice had with these artists were the foundation of what would become Coachella.
Tollett got his start booking ska shows in Pomona, California, in the mid-1980s. When he first met Goldenvoice’s Tovar, he thought Tovar would be an unfriendly rival, but “We hit it off instantly,” Tollett remembers. Later, “He gave me a box of flyers to pass out, and that was the first day that I worked at Goldenvoice.”
Dani Lindstrom, a longtime Goldenvoice employee, remembers that back in the late 1980s, the Goldenvoice office, which was located at the time above The Palladium, was “basically about five people booking shows.” Tollett adds that in the early 1990s, it looked like Goldenvoice was doing well, but the reality was that company was struggling financially.
And then, Goldenvoice experienced a major blow when Tovar was busted for what he describes in the documentary as his “side business”—smuggling and selling marijuana. In 1991, he was arrested and later sentenced to seven years in prison. The scandal effectively ended Tovar’s career as a concert promoter, but he refused to let Goldenvoice go bankrupt while he was in prison. Tovar sold the company to Goldenvoice employees Tollett and Rick Van Santen, who became presidents of the company.
The documentary names two events that also planted the seeds of Coachella. First, during Pearl Jam’s feud with Ticketmaster in 1993, the band was looking to do a gig in Southern California at a venue that wasn’t associated with Ticketmaster. Goldenvoice stepped in and booked Pearl Jam at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio. The concert was a sold-out success (25,000 people attended), and it put the concert industry on notice that a show of this size could be done without Ticketmaster.
The other important event that helped give birth to Coachella was Goldenvoice’s involvement in the Organic Festival for rave music. After bands like Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine became too big to book for Goldenvoice in the 1990s, Tollett says that the company began to focus more on booking rave acts. The concept of Coachella was for it to be a combination of a big rock festival and a rave party.
Moby, one of the performers at the first Coachella, says that he was one of the people who thought that bringing a “European-style festival to the U.S.” was an interesting idea, but at the time, he wasn’t sure if it was going to work in the California desert. Meanwhile, sound engineer Dave Rat of Rat Sound admits that he was one of many people who thought even the name Coachella was a bad idea at the time.
The documentary portrays Coachella as a groundbreaking large-scale U.S. music and arts festival for alternative rock and other artists whose careers were helped by college radio, but the movie doesn’t properly acknowledge that Lollapalooza had the same concept and did it years before Coachella existed. Lollapolooza was a touring festival that began in 1991 and continued to 1997, and was resurrected in 2003. Lollapalooza was then revived in 2005 as a non-touring festival, with the U.S. edition taking place in Chicago. It’s obvious from the timeline of when Lollapalooza was on hiatus that Coachella was created to fill the void left by Lollapaolooza.
Jane’s Addiction lead singer Perry Farrell, who co-founded Lollapalooza and performed as a solo artist at the first Coachella, is interviewed in the documentary. As influential as Lollapalooza was in the 1990s, even Farrell acknowledges that Coachella has a much higher profile in the consciousness of the media and pop culture: “You’re going to be judged, man, when you hit the Coachella stage, and it’s going to be talked about for the rest of the year.”
“Chapter Two: The Early Years” is one of the more fascinating parts of the documentary because it covers the years that didn’t get the level of media attention that Coachella does now. The headliners at the first Coachella Festival (which was only a two-day event back then) included Beck, Morrissey (footage of his performance is in the documentary), Rage Against the Machine, the Chemical Brothers, Tool, Farrell and Ben Harper.
Tollett says that Coachella was such a financial disaster in its first year (he estimates the festival lost between $850,000 to $1 million) that he had his bank card taken away and “I got kicked out of a bank.” He adds that Coachella was able to continue because of Goldenvoice’s good relationships with people in the music industry. “The only reason why we were able to keep going was because we had a good reputation,” he says, adding that people such as Lollapalooza co-founders Don Muller and Marc Geiger lent money to Goldenvoice.
The financial losses of the first Coachella caused the festival to go on hiatus in 2000. But then, the financial fortunes of Goldenvoice changed in 2001, when the company was bought by AEG Live (now called AEG Presents) for about $7 million. Goldenvoice then became part of the AEG subsidiary Concerts West, with Tollett and Van Santen retaining their presidential roles at Goldenvoice. AEG had recently constructed the Staples Center arena and wanted to have a major festival as part of its portfolio, so the company gave the go-ahead for Goldenvoice to revive Coachella. And the rest is history.
The documentary then goes over some of the biggest highlights in those early Coachella years. In 2001, there was the reunion of Jane’s Addiction, which Tollett says largely happened because Van Santen convinced the band to get back together. But the festival had a serious garbage-disposal problem that year because, as Tollett says, they didn’t have enough trash cans on the site.
However, the reunion of Jane’s Addiction at Coachella set a precedent for Coachella being a leading festival for bands to stage reunions. Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA says in the documentary that seeing Rage Against the Machine’s 2007 reunion performance at Coachella was when he knew that Wu-Tang Clan would eventually do a reunion show at Coachella, which happened in 2013. Other artists who have done reunion performances at Coachella include N.W.A., Pixies, Guns N’Roses and OutKast.
Coachella in 2002 was “the first year we didn’t make a mistake,” Tollett says. That year, Björk became the first female artist to headline at Coachella. Goldenvoice employee Stacey Vee remembers that the early 2000s were a great time for alternative rock bands, and that only helped Coachella. The documentary includes footage of 2003 headliners the White Stripes.
The year 2004 was the first time that Coachella made a profit, according to Tollett. Radiohead, Pixies and Kraftwerk were among the headliners. In 2005, there was another big alt-rock reunion: Bauhaus, which included lead singer Peter Murphy entering the stage hanging upside down like a bat for the song “Bela Legosi’s Dead.” The movie has footage of this performance. The documentary includes interviews with Bauhaus members Murphy (in an audio interview), Daniel Ash and David J, who remembers that Bauhaus wanted to release live bats during the band’s performance but couldn’t because it was illegal.
It was in the mid-2000s that Coachella became a very hot ticket. Coachella culinary director Nic Adler remembers in the first few years of Coachella, Goldenvoice was literally giving away tickets to him and his co-workers to attend. By the sixth or seventh year of Coachella, he says, those free tickets stopped. “There was that switch in the festival where you literally saw it was something you had to do, something you had to be at,” Adler comments.
Coachella in 2006 was most memorable for Madonna’s performance, which was booked on such relatively short notice that she couldn’t perform on the already-booked main stage. Instead, she performed in the tent for electronic dance music (EDM) artists. The documentary includes footage of Madonna performing “Hung Up” in the tent. Madonna was the first superstar to perform at Coachella, according to Goldenvoice’s Raymond Roker, the former editor-in-chief/publisher of URB magazine.
However, Madonna at Coachella didn’t happen without some criticism, as some of Coachella’s early fans thought that the festival wasn’t supposed to be for major pop acts. But at this point, so many Hollywood celebrities were flocking to Coachella, that it was inevitable that the festival would start having artists with more mainstream appeal. The documentary has some backstage footage from the 2007 Coachella that briefly shows actor Danny DeVito posing for a picture with singer Amy Winehouse—that pretty much says it all. Hollywood actress Rosanna Arquette, who did backstage interviews for Coachella for several years, says in the documentary: “It was the most favorite job I’ve ever had in my life.”
“Chapter Three: The Rise of Robots” covers the importance of Coachella to EDM acts. While many festivals in the 2000s were afraid to have a rave-style atmosphere, Coachella embraced it and helped boost the careers of many EDM acts. Coachella also helped usher in the era of DJs and other EDM artists staging big productions for their shows, with elaborate lighting and stunning visuals.
Two EDM performances at Coachella are singled out as major milestones: Daft Punk in 2006 (when the group performed a very “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”-inspired outer-space-themed set) and Tiësto in 2010, when he became the first EDM artist to perform on Coachella’s main stage. Steve Aoki raves about Daft Punk’s 2006 Coachella performance: “It changed people’s lives, including mine, forever.” Jason Bentley adds, “Nothing was the same after that performance.”
This chapter also mentions that Coachella influenced how EDM acts began to have more high-tech productions. Paul van Dyk says, “I’m not scared of technology. It’s something I use as a tool.” Tiësto says that the rise of EDM also coincided with the rise of social media: “Social media made a big difference. As soon as Facebook and Instagram blew up, EDM blew up. For years [EDM music] was held down by the people who controlled the [mainstream] media.”
But EDM at Coachella isn’t just about elaborate light shows or movie-quality images on big screens. Also included in this chapter are commentaries from actor Idris Elba (who moonlights as a DJ) and Nina Kraviz, who praise the low-tech vibe of Coachella’s Yuma Stage, which doesn’t have any big screens. Meanwhile, Diplo says that even though headlining sets happen at night, “Sunset is the best time to play Coachella.”
“Chapter Four: The New Beats” covers the evolution of rap and hip-hop at Coachella. Goldenvoice’s Roker notes that in Coachella’s early years, the rap acts booked at the festival tended to be those that were played on college radio and had a largely white fan base. (Jurassic 5 is named as one example.) Roker says, “It took a while for the culture to merge.”
Coachella went from booking mostly independent rap acts to acts that had major crossover success on the pop charts. Kanye West (who showed up 20 minutes late for his first Coachella performance in 2006) is cited as one of the first major crossover rap acts to perform at Coachella. Jay-Z had the biggest breakthrough as the first rap act to headline at Coachella, which he did in 2010.
According to Tollett, Jay-Z was selected for the headlining spot after Goldenvoice promoters saw him perform as a replacement for headliner the Beastie Boys at the 2009 All Points West Festival, which was also a Goldenvoice show. When Jay-Z opened the show with the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” (a rap song with a rock beat), the people at Goldenvoice knew that he could do a show that could appeal to Coachella’s audience, which consisted of mostly rock fans at the time.
As the 2010s became the decade that rap and hip-hop began to have more of a presence at Coachella, so too did social media. It was in this decade that Instagram became the main social-media platform for Coachella attendees to document their experiences and fashion choices. In 2011, YouTube began livestreaming Coachella for the first time.
By 2012, Coachella had become so popular (with the event usually selling out the first day it went on sale) that Goldenvoice did something that was truly groundbreaking at the time: Coachella was extended for a second weekend, with the same acts performing in the same time slots for each weekend. Tollett says that there were many naysayers to this idea at the time, but it turned out to be a major success and catapulted Coachella to become the world’s top-grossing festival, in terms of ticket sales. Although attendance numbers and ticket sales were not mentioned in the documentary, in 2017 (the last year that Coachella publicly reported this information), Coachella was attended by 250,000 people and grossed $114.6 million.
The year 2012 was also a milestone year for Coachella because it featured what Tollett calls “The single most popular thing that ever happened at Coachella.” During Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s performance at Coachella’s first weekend, a surprise hologram of the late Tupac Shakur appeared on stage and performed. The hologram made news worldwide and became a massive sensation on the Internet.
Dylan Brown, who created the hologram, explains in the documentary how precise the movements had to be, even down to raising an eyebrow on the hologram. “We just wanted to do it right. We wanted to be respectful to the [Shakur] family and to the fans.”
Roker adds that after this groundbreaking hologram performance, “The genie was never going back in the bottle. It established the show as part of popular culture.” Ice Cube, who was a peer of Shakur’s in the vital 1990s West Coast rap scene, comments on the Coachella hologram: “I was happy for [Dr. Dre] and happy for Tupac being able to be on stage.”
“Chapter Five: The Next Generation” covers how Coachella has evolved to stay relevant to the mostly young people who flock to the event. Gone are the days when alt-rock artists were the majority of the headliners. Coachella is now more diverse than ever before, with pop, hip-hop, Latino and Asian artists becoming more prevalent at Coachella, compared to the festival’s early years. Some of the artists highlighted via performance clips in this chapter include Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, Rosalía and Blackpink.
Roker comments on Coachella changing to fit trends in music: “That’s been the hardest pill to swallow for some of the older fans.” He notes that many of Coachella’s youngest stars share some common characteristics: “They’re coming with fashion, wealth, bravado and carefree aggression.”
As for the definitive Coachella performance in the late 2010s, people interviewed in the documentary mention Beyoncé’s show-stopping 2018 Coachella extravaganza, which was made into the 2019 Netflix documentary “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé.” (She was also the first black woman to headline at Coachella.) Beyoncé’s performance was such a media sensation that fans affectionately renamed Coachella 2018 as “Beychella.”
Roker says of Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance: “She was a woman on a mission. She came there with a script. The performance was a State of the Union for her, and she was going to deliver it.”
And the high profile of a Coachella performance means that artists often feel the need to surpass each other with elaborate productions. The documentary mentions Kanye West’s 2019 Sunday Service performance at Coachella (with hundreds of choir singers and dancers) as one of those over-the-top productions. Goldenvoice literally built a mountain on the field at his request, since a stage was too small for what West had in mind. Goldenvoice producer Jason Brown says that hundreds of trucks were needed to bring in all the dirt and grass to construct the mountain.
Coachella’s increasing diversity and its ability to evolve with the times (instead of sticking to the same musical formula from the festival’s early years) is ultimately one of the reasons why it will continue to thrive, according to artists interviewed in the documentary. Beck, one of the performers at the first Coachella, says about the festival: “If I’m in town, I usually go as a fan. It’s everything that’s happening in music at the moment.” Shepard Fairey adds that the musical variety of Coachella is its biggest draw: “It’s not one cohesive genre. It’s just more cohesive in the idea that ‘good is good.'”
And although headliners get the majority of the media attention at Coachella, most of the music fans at the festival are also there to discover new music or see lesser-known artists they wouldn’t normally see at a regular concert. Diplo, who’s performed at Coachella several times, comments on Coachella expanding beyond the festival’s original template of rock, EDM and some hip-hop: “It’s always been a festival for discovery anyway, so we’re reaching sort of a global cusp. Every year is a metamorphosis.”
“Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert” does a great job of covering the festival’s variety of music, and the concert footage is well-edited with very good sound mixing. (Try to watch this movie on the biggest screen possible.) But what’s missing from the documentary is any coverage of the “arts” at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. There have been many amazing art installations at Coachella over the years, so it would have made the documentary truly comprehensive if a little bit of time had been devoted to including a behind-the-scenes look at the festival’s art.
And curiously, the documentary doesn’t mention that Coachella co-founder Van Santen died in 2003, until a brief obituary dedication that’s flashed at the very end (“Rick Van Santen, 1961-2003”). In the documentary, the Goldenvoice people don’t talk about how Van Santen’s death (he passed away from flu complications) affected them and Coachella. Maybe it was too much of a downer for this documentary, which clearly wants to present only a positive and upbeat side to Coachella.
Since this is a Goldenvoice-produced documentary, it comes as no surprise that there’s also no mention about Coachella’s controversies, such as complaints of overcrowding and sexual harassment of attendees. Despite Coachella’s ongoing problems that this documentary doesn’t really want to address, the festival has undoubtedly become a major part of pop culture.
As pop star Billie Eilish says in the beginning of the documentary: “Everybody knows what Coachella is. If you don’t care about music, you know [about Coachella].” Goldenvoice’s Roker has this conclusion about Coachella’s evolution: “The fact that it represents a fuller picture of culture, that’s the bottom line.”
YouTube Originals premiered “Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert” on April 10, 2020.
Originally scheduled for April 10 to April 12 and April 17 to April 19, 2020, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will now take place October 9 to October 11 and October 16 to October 18, 2020. Artists who had been announced to perform, before the postponement happened, include headliners Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean, as well as Calvin Harris, Big Sean, Lewis Capaldi, Lana Del Rey, Flume, Lil Nas X, 21 Savage and Charlie XCX.
Originally scheduled for April 24 to April 26, 2020, Stagecoach will now take place October 23 to October 25, 2020. Artists who had been announced to perform, before the postponement happened, include headliners Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Eric Church, as well as Brett Young, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Dan + Shay, Alan Jackson, Jon Pardi and Bryan Adams.
In terms of ticket sales, Coachella is the largest-grossing annual music festival in the world. According to Goldenvoice, about 99,000 people per day attended Coachella in 2019. The festival had a record-setting gross of $114.6 million in 2017. The country music Stagecoach averaged 80,000 per day in 2019. Goldenvoice, a private company, did not make public the 2019 grosses for these festivals.
The 34th annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals has been cancelled. The event was scheduled to take place from March 13 to 22, 2020, in Austin, Texas. A public health state of emergency has also been declared in the city of Austin. SXSW includes festivals for music, film and live comedy, as well as a conferences for technology, education and gaming.
Keynote speakers who were announced for SXSW 2020 included Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters, Bumble founder/CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, The Blackstone Group’s Jon Korngold, “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King, DJ/producer Diplo, Emerson Collective founder Laurene Powell Jobs and LightShed founder/creative director Gabo Arora.
Featured speakers were to include T Bone Burnett, Troy Carter, Anil Dash, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Steven Levy, Bob Odenkirk, Maria A. Ressa, Susan Rogers, Angela Roseboro, Jerry Saltz, Rhea Seehorn, M. Night Shyamalan, Nicole Wong, Stephen Colbert, Jack Dorsey, Samantha Bee, Bob Chapek, Jonathan Van Ness, Tarana Burke, Dr. Brené Brown, Dr. Werner Vogels, Lynn Shelton and Jen Wong.
Movies that were supposed to have their world premieres at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival included Paramount Pictures’ “The Lovebirds” (starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani), A24’s “The Green Knight” (starring Dev Patel) and Universal Pictures’ “The King of Staten Island,” starring Pete Davidson. The SXSW Film Festival announced that it will still give awards this year in the jury-voted categories. The films in competition are being made available online to jurors. Winners will be announced online and not at an awards ceremony.
Participants in the SXSW Comedy Festival were to include Judd Apatow, Davidson, Samantha Bee, Hannibal Buress, Joel Kim Booster, Thomas Middleditch and Horatio Sanz. And the cancellation of the SXSW Music Festival means that hundreds of upcoming artists will no longer be performing at the event this year.
The cancellation of SXSW is the largest entertainment event so far to be shut down due to coronavirus concerns. SXSW is one of Austin’s biggest sources of revenue, bringing in an estimated $355.9 million in 2019. Approximately 417,400 people attended SXSW in 2019. Over the past 10 years, the festival’s attendance and revenue had continued to grow. However, the costs of a coronavirus outbreak would be much more devastating to people’s health and well-being. Austin is not taking that risk.
“The City of Austin has cancelled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions.
“We are devastated to share this news with you. “The show must go on” is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.
“As recently as Wednesday [March 4, 2020], Austin Public Health stated that ‘there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.’ However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision. We are committed to do our part to help protect our staff, attendees, and fellow Austinites.
“We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU. For our registrants, clients, and participants we will be in touch as soon as possible and will publish an FAQ.
“We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilize SXSW to accelerate their careers; for the global businesses; and for Austin and the hundreds of small businesses – venues, theatres, vendors, production companies, service industry staff, and other partners that rely so heavily on the increased business that SXSW attracts.
“We will continue to work hard to bring you the unique events you love. Though it’s true that our March 2020 event will no longer take place in the way that we intended, we continue to strive toward our purpose – helping creative people achieve their goals.”
Click here for an updated list of other corona virus-related cancellations and postponements in the entertainment industry.
The following is a press release from iHeartMedia:
iHeartMedia announced the lineup for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival, the annual legendary concert event on Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21 at Las Vegas’ hottest entertainment venue, T-Mobile Arena. This year, the epic two-day lineup will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Cage The Elephant, Camila Cabello, Chance The Rapper, Def Leppard, French Montana, Halsey, Heart, H.E.R., Miley Cyrus, Mumford & Sons, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band and more. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the iHeartRadio Music Festival will once again feature one-of-a-kind collaborations and surprise performances.
The Daytime Stage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival will take place at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on Saturday, September 21 with performances by Juice WRLD, Maren Morris, Billie Eilish, Old Dominion, H.E.R., Zara Larsson, CNCO, Brett Young, FLETCHER, Monsta X, Bryce Vine and Lauv, with more to be announced. In addition to live performances from today’s emerging artists, the Daytime Stage will also feature fan zones and interactive experiences by iHeartRadio’s brand partners.
“Year after year, the iHeartRadio Music Festival continues to captivate audiences nationwide,” said Tom Poleman, Chief Programming Officer for iHeartMedia. “Since its inception in 2011, this festival has become the can’t miss music event of the year. We’re thrilled to once again bring the world’s biggest artists together on one stage for one incredible weekend.”
Each night, the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival will broadcast live for fans via iHeartMedia radio stations throughout the country across more than 150 markets. The CW Network will broadcast a two-night television special on Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3 from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. EST/PST. Leading up to the official television special, The CW will also air an hour-long Best Of Special on Sunday, September 29 at 8 p.m. EST/PST. In addition, The CW will exclusively livestream both nights of the festival via The CW App and CWTV.com.
“Each year we strive to live up to our reputation as the most diverse music festival in the world,” said John Sykes, President of Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia. “This year we have the best in class from all genres of music performing indoors and out, all weekend long.”
Beginning Tuesday, June 11 at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST through Thursday, June 13 at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST, Capital One cardholders will have access to a special pre-sale for the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Tickets will be available only at iHeartRadio.com/CapitalOne. Additionally, Capital One cardholders can purchase an exclusive Capital One Access Pass which includes an intimate acoustic performance with Cage The Elephant, a meet and greet with the band and a backstage tour of T-Mobile Arena. Tickets go on sale to the general public on June 14 at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST via AXS.com. Tickets for the Daytime Stage are also on sale and can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com.
In addition, throughout a summer-long on-air and online promotion, iHeartMedia station listeners across the country will have the chance to win a one-of-a-kind dream trip to Las Vegas where they will join thousands of other dedicated music fans to experience the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena.
Proud partners of this year’s event include: Capital One(R), The CW Network, Macy’s, Progressive(R) Insurance, T-Mobile, Taco Bell(R) and Tic Tac with more to be announced.
The 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival is co-produced by John Sykes, and Tom Poleman. For more details about the iHeartRadio Music Festival visit iHeartRadio.com/festival.
Artists and/or event are subject to change or cancellation without notice.
iHeartMedia is the #1 audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms including 848 live broadcast stations; its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including smart speakers, smartphones, TVs and gaming consoles; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics and attribution technology for its marketing partners, using data from its massive consumer base. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK:IHRTQ). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, PBS commissioned a documentary about the event, which is often credited as being the most influential concert festival in history. Emmy-winning director Ken Burns was announced as the documentary’s director, but he left the project. The documentary ended up in the very capable hands of director Barak Goodman, whose credits include the Oscar-nominated documentary “Scottsboro: An American Tragedy” and the gerrymandering documentary “Slay the Dragon,” which had its world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Of course, this PBS “Woodstock” documentary and any other movie about Woodstock will be overshadowed by director Michael Wadleigh’s Oscar-winning 1970 “Woodstock” documentary epic, which is still considered the definitive chronicle of the event. However, Goodman’s “Woodstock” (which has plenty of concert footage from the festival) stands as a solid companion piece. Whereas the original “Woodstock” movie was essentially a concert film, this PBS “Woodstock” documentary attempts to fill in a lot of the behind-the-scenes blanks, much like bonus commentary does on a home-video release.
There has been so much that’s already been written, said and reported about the original Woodstock Music Festival that there is not much new information to uncover. The festival—which took place August 15 to August 18, 1969, in Bethel, New York—was billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.” (The concert ended up extending into the morning hours of a fourth day.) The lineup was a who’s who of many of the biggest names in music in the late 1960s, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, the Grateful Dead, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival (who were not in the original “Woodstock” documentary), Sly and the Family Stone and Crosby, Stills & Nash. The concert was originally expected to attract about 50,000 people. Instead, approximately 400,000 people showed up and made it an unprecedented cultural event, despite the overcrowding, food shortages, drug-induced freakouts, downpours of rain, safety issues and the underlying threat that the government might shut down the concert.
“Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation” takes a chronological look at the challenges and problems that the festival encountered, told mostly from the perspective of the festival’s organizers and attendees. There are only a handful of artists (including David Crosby and Richie Havens) interviewed for this documentary. All of the new interviews for the movie are voiceovers, which was a wise artistic choice, since video cutaways to talking-head commentators would just distract from the movie’s intentions of transporting viewers back to the Woodstock Festival.
The four people who are given the most credit for being the founders of the Woodstock Festival are John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. Roberts (an heir to the Poligrip/Polident fortune) and Rosenman were the producers who put up the money for the event. It was through Roberts and Rosenman’s New York-based Media Sound company that they met Kornfeld and Lang, who both came from music backgrounds. Lang was the only one at the time who had experience as a concert promoter. All of them are interviewed for the documentary, as are other key members of the original Woodstock team, such as director of operations Mel Lawrence and Stan Goldstein, a campground coordinator who researched portable toilet needs for the event.
The opening-day party for Media Sound morphed into the idea of putting on an all-star outdoor festival named Woodstock, much like the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival in California. The city of Woodstock in upstate New York wasn’t actually available, but the idea was to have the festival in a sprawling area in the region, since the urban density of New York City wasn’t an option. Lang was adamant about having the festival in a grassy area, not at a raceway.
The Woodstock promoters originally chose Wallkill, New York, for the concert site. But when Wallkill’s city officials realized that their city would be overrun with hundreds of thousands of hippies and other counter-culture people, they voted in an ordinance to prevent gatherings of more than 5,000 people, thereby canceling Woodstock’s permit. Fortunately, an unexpected hero stepped in to save the festival: a conservative Republican named Max Yasgur, who donated his farm in Bethel for the concert site. Within two days, the city of Bethel approved the permit, and Woodstock was revived, but the festival had to scramble to create the stages and other infrastructure in time for the event. They didn’t have enough time to do a thorough job, and many aspects of the festival’s production were incomplete by the time the festival began. It’s repeated many times in the documentary that Woodstock was under-staffed and under-stocked. Needless to say, because most of the overcrowded festival’s attendees got in for free, Woodstock’s investors lost a lot of money because of this event.
Ironically, Lang’s Woodstock Ventures faced similar financial and legal issues for its Woodstock 50 concert, which had been announced to take place in Watkins Glen, New York, from August 16 to August 18, 2019. At the time of this writing, Woodstock 50’s main investor pulled out (citing concerns about overcrowding and safety), a permit for the festival hasn’t been issued, and tickets haven’t even gone on sale. The concert industry is very different today than it was in 1969, so there probably isn’t enough time to clear all the legal hurdles that Woodstock 50 is facing in order for this 50th anniversary concert to happen.
One of the best things about this PBS “Woodstock” documentary is that it really shines a spotlight on many of the unsung heroes who worked behind the scenes at the original Woodstock Festival—the people who slogged through it from beginning to end. The artists on stage got most of the glory, and most of the celebrities didn’t mingle with the (sometimes literally unwashed) masses in the crowds. The big stars who attended Woodstock also had the luxury of leaving behind the messiness of Woodstock by helicopter, since the festival had traffic jams and roadblocks during the entire event.
Food for Love was a three-person operation that made a huge but underrated difference at Woodstock. The group was hired on relatively short notice, because the original food contractor for Woodstock backed out of the event after Wallkill canceled the festival’s permit. When the food supply at the festival began to run dangerously low, Food for Love, with the help of numerous volunteers, stepped in to help feed people and even gave away a lot of food for free—something that would be unheard of in today’s over-priced festival environment. (According to the documentary, a lot of people “paid” for the free food by giving marijuana joints to the people handing out the food.) Yasgur, who died in 1973 at the age of 53, also provided a lot of the free food from his farm, which inevitably became a garbage-filled disaster area after the festival was over. Milk, oats and rice became welcomed and common nourishment at the festival.
The documentary interviews hippie icon Wavy Gravy, who stepped in to emcee at Woodstock and brought his Hog Farm community to the festival as unofficial security. The Hog Farm called themselves a “please force” instead of a “police force.” Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm were instrumental in keeping the crowds calmer than they could have been, given the high levels of drug use at the concert. Speaking of drug use at Woodstock, the documentary mentions that the festival was perhaps the first major concert event to have a massive amount of “freak-out” tents, where people tripping out on drugs could go to ride out their experiences. The tents were a necessity, given that medical assistance was also in short supply.
Another aspect of the festival that would be unthinkable today was the lack of adequate communication coming in and out of the festival. Because Woodstock happened decades before smartphones and the Internet existed, the festival had to make news announcements on stage, since most attendees did not have on-site access to radios, TV and newspapers. In addition, announcements were made on stage for festival attendees to contact frantic loved ones or friends who were looking for them. At the festival’s information center, attendees had to pin notes on the walls to get messages to other attendees. It’s hard to imagine today’s generation of young concertgoers being able to cope with these conditions.
Through testimonials of several attendees, the documentary de-mystifies the image of Woodstock being a blissful “peace and love” party. Yes, there were numerous people who had a good time and have fond memories of Woodstock, even if many of those memories were clouded by whatever drugs they were on at the time. But partying at Woodstock wasn’t the whole story. The reality was that most of the attendees had inadequate food and shelter, and things got worse when the festival was hit with rainstorms that caused a lot of disgusting mud. The rain could have caused electrocutions on stage, but fortunately did not.
In addition, government helicopters were constantly hovering, as if ready to step in and treat the festival like a war zone. Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York state at the time, kept threatening to send in the National Guard. Speaking of war, the documentary mentions that many of the male attendees of Woodstock were afraid of being drafted into the Vietnam War, so the hovering military helicopters that caused a lot of noise and discomfort probably didn’t help their nerves.
Of course, the best part of the festival that gets the most recognition and the highest praise is the music. The artists who are mentioned the most as being standout acts at Woodstock were Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, Crosby Stills & Nash (who did their second public performance as a group at Woodstock) and Santana. In the documentary, Woodstock Festival opener Havens remembers that he didn’t want to be Woodstock’s first performer on stage, because the concert started late, and he thought the crowd would be angry. (He ended up getting a standing ovation.)
Although this “Woodstock” documentary could have used more artist interviews, they might have overshadowed the testimonials of the non-famous people in this documentary who spent a lot more time at Woodstock than the artists did. In the end, “Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation” is a deeper dive into the harsh realities behind the festival. The documentary may not have a lot of new information, but it’s recommended viewing for people who want more of the real story of what happened behind the scenes.
PBS/American Experience Films will release “Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation” in New York City on May 24, 2019, and will expand the release to more U.S. cities on June 7, 2019. PBS will premiere “Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation” as part of the PBS “American Experience” series on August 6, 2019.
The Woodstock 50 festival has crashed and burned before tickets even went on sale. On April 29, 2019, “Dentsu Aegis, the festival’s financial backers, pulled out and stated that it was canceled, yet the organizers vowed to press on,” according to Variety.
As a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival, Woodstock 50 had been scheduled to take place at Watkins Glen International race track in Watkins Glen, New York, from August 16 to August 18, 2019. Jay-Z, The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana and Chance the Rapper were among the artists announced as performers at the event.
However, the on-sale date for tickets kept getting postponed, and festival promoters (which included original Woodstock Festival promoter Michael Lang) were vague about ticket prices and festival packages. At this late stage, even if Woodstock 50 finds an investor in time to resurrect the event, there is still the issue of getting city permits in time to do the event.
Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, the main investor in Woodstock 50, issued this statement: “We have a strong history of producing experiences that bring people together around common interests and causes, which is why we chose to be a part of the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival. But despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees. As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”
Lang’s company Woodstock Ventures reacted with this statement: “We are committed to ensuring that the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture.Although our financial partner is withdrawing, we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. We would like to acknowledge the State of New York and Schuyler County for all of their hard work and support. The bottom line is, there is going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it’s going to be a blast.”
Ironically, the original Woodstock also faced the same problems with not being prepared for the large crowds of people expected at the event. (The organizers predicted about 50,000 people would be there. Instead, about 400,000 people showed up.) The original Woodstock Festival also had problems with city permits, which forced the event to move from its originally planned location in Wallkill, New York, to Bethel, New York, on relatively short notice. The relocation of the original Woodstock Festival site was thanks to a farmer named Max Yasgur who generously allowed his farm to be used for the Woodstock Festival.
There are more laws and insurance issues for concert festivals these days, compared to 1969, so even if a private citizen wanted to let the Woodstock 50 promoters use his or her property for the festival, all the necessary permits would still have to be approved by the city hosting the festival site. You would think that Lang and his colleagues would have learned from the mistakes that they made during the original Woodstock Festival. It’s a major embarrassment that they announced Woodstock 50 and booked the acts before they had the necessary permits. (Most of the major acts who signed on for the festival have contracts guaranteeing payment, even if the festival is canceled.)
An unofficial Woodstock 50th anniversary festival that had been competing with Woodstock 50 is still scheduled to happen: the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, on August 15 to August 17, 2019, at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (the site of the original Woodstock Festival) in Bethel Woods, New York. The event is produced by Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Live Nation and brand communications agency INVNT. The Bethel Woods festival has a lineup that leans heavily toward classic rock, with performers that include Carlos Santana, Ringo Starr, Arlo Guthrie, the Doobie Brothers and Edgar Winter. Woodstock 50’s Watkins Glen venue would have been larger (with a capacity of 39,000) than the Bethel Woods venue, which has a capacity of about 15,000. But because both festivals were going to take place on overlapping days, they were essentially competing for a lot of the same customers. One festival was bound to come out the winner in that battle. Woodstock 50 has now been knocked out of the competition.
Pitchfork has a timeline of the news leading up to the Woodstock 50 cancellation.
May 17, 2019 UPDATE: Woodstock 50 issued a press release stating that investment firm Oppenheimer & Co, a unit of Oppenheimer Holdings Inc., has agreed to serve as an advisor for the festival to find new financial backers.
Oppenheimer & Co. head of debt capital markets and syndication John Tonelli commented in a statement: “We are thrilled to be onboard for this incredible weekend of music and social engagement. We believe in Woodstock as an important American cultural icon and look forward to its regeneration.”
Reading between the lines, this statement essentially says that Oppenheimer & Co. is not a new investor in Woodstock 50 but will only help Woodstock 50 find new investment money. At this point, the festival is bound to lose money. If Woodstock 50 had already obtained permits to have the event, then it might look more promising that the festival will happen. But with no permits and no tickets on sale only three months before the event, it’s increasingly unlikely that Woodstock 50 can happen.
June 10, 2019 UPDATE: In another nail in the coffin for Woodstock 50, Watkins Glen International race track has canceled the license for the event. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the race track released this statement: “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival.”
Woodstock Ventures is still telling the media that the show will go on, but with two months left to go before the announced Woodstock 50 dates, it’s highly improbable that the promoters will be find a new festival site on time, get a permit, and build the infrastructure needed for an event of this size. Tickets for Woodstock 50 never went on sale either. Unless Woodstock Ventures wants to get Fyre Festival levels of ridicule and scorn, it’s best if the company just admit that Woodstock 50 is canceled and move on from this debacle.
July 10, 2019 UDATE: More proof that Woodstock 50 is dead: According to Variety, the city of Vernon in New York state has denied Woodstock 50’s application for a permit. After being booted from Watkins Glen, Woodstock 50 had been hoping to relocate to Vernon Downs, a racing track and entertainment facility. Vernon city officials cited the same reasons why Watkins Glen denied the permit for Woodstock 50: There wasn’t enough time to put an infrastructure in place to meet safety and health standards. Unlike the Watkins Glen location, the location in Vernon could not accommodate overnight camping.
Woodstock 50 had expected 65,000 people to attend at Vernon Downs but, according to reports, there simply isn’t enough hotel space nearby to accommodate crowds of that magnitude. Woodstock 50 organizers were hoping that enough private citizens would open up their homes for rental, but it was ultimately a foolish idea, given the short time frame involved (a month before the expected event) and the legal hurdles that were necessary to overcome. Woodstock 50 organizers have appealed Vernon city officials’ decision to deny the permit. Once again, the Woodstock 50 organizers stubbornly refused to admit that the event is not going to happen, even thought it’s extremely obvious to anyone with common sense.
July 31, 2019 UPDATE: The people behind Woodstock Ventures have finally admitted what has been obvious for months: Woodstock 50 is officially canceled. In the days leading up to this inevitable announcement, several of the top artists announced for the festival canceled their Woodstock 50 appearances, including Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Dead & Co., John Fogerty, Santana, the Raconteurs, the Lumineers, John Sebastian and Country Joe McDonald.
After getting rejected by two venues in New York state, Woodstock Ventures made a misguided attempt in July 2019 to move the festival to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. Merriweather Post Pavilion has a capacity of between 20,000 to 32,000 people. However, there were issues with the artists’ contracts (most were contracted to play Woodstock 50 only if the event was held in Watkins Glen, New York), as well as the fact that Merriweather Post Pavilion would only be available for Woodstock 50 on August 16 or August 18, since Smashing Pumpkins are scheduled to perform at the venue on August 17.
Adding to all the desperate measures to keep Woodstock 50 alive and with no tickets ever put on sale, festival principals said that Woodstock 50 would probably be a free, one-day charity concert, with patrons having the option to donate money. However, Woodstock 50 could not name any charity partners, give details on how free tickets would be distributed, or even confirm if the one-day Woodstock 50 would take place on August 16 or August 18. In fact, the event never revealed any ticketing details for Woodstock 50, even when the festival was originally supposed to sell tickets.
Here are the cancellation statements from the chiefs who botched Woodstock 50:
Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock Ventures: “We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the Festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating. When we lost the Glen and then Vernon Downs we looked for a way to do some good rather than just cancel. We formed a collaboration with HeadCount to do a smaller event at the Merriweather Pavilion to raise funds for them to get out the vote and for certain NGOs involved in fighting climate change. We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary. Due to conflicting radius issues in the DC area many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons. I would like to encourage artists and agents, who all have been fully paid, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount or causes of their choice in the spirit of peace. Woodstock remains committed to social change and will continue to be active in support of HeadCount’s critical mission to get out the vote before the next election. We thank the artists, fans and partners who stood by us even in the face of adversity. My thoughts turn to Bethel and its celebration of our 50th Anniversary to reinforce the values of compassion, human dignity, and the beauty of our differences embraced by Woodstock.”
Greg Peck, principal of Woodstock 50: “The unfortunate dispute with our financial partner and the resulting legal proceedings set us off course at a critical juncture, throwing a wrench in our plans and forcing us to find an alternate venue to Watkins Glen. The timing meant we had few choices where our artists would be able to perform. We worked hard to find a way to produce a proper tribute—and some great artists came aboard over the last week to support Woodstock 50 — but time simply ran short. We are greatly disappointed and thank all of our supporters, including the team at Merriweather Post Pavilion and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. Woodstock’s values of peace and tolerance are more important today than ever for all of us to stand for and we look to the future for ways to honor and celebrate these ideals.”