Guns N’ Roses Headlines One of World’s Last Music Festivals

(Bloomberg) -- Guns N’ Roses is headlining a popular two-day music festival scheduled for this weekend in Mexico City, even as worries mount over the threat of the new coronavirus.

The Vive Latino festival will carry on, its organizer said, because the Mexican government hasn’t said it shouldn’t. The gathering attracted an estimated 90,000 people a day last year.

Over the past week, the pandemic has forced a sweeping shutdown of live events across the U.S. as authorities seek to slow down its spread. The National Basketball Association and National Hockey League suspended their seasons, the NCAA called off its men and women’s basketball tournaments and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was postponed until October.

In Mexico, a lack of official guidance is keeping some events like the Vive Latino festival on schedule.

“Our position is to carry on with the festival because we think it would be irresponsible not to, we’ve sold many tickets,” Jordi Puig, the event’s director, said in a radio interview on Thursday with W Radio. “We’re going with what authorities have told us.” Puig said they’ve added hand sanitizers throughout the venue, which will have concerts spread across six stages.

Guns N’ Roses is expected to play Saturday night. The band’s manager didn’t immediately reply to calls and emails. At least one band, She Wants Revenge, canceled its performance, according to local media.

“The party must go on,” Puig said. The company won’t offer reimbursement to those who wish to cancel due to coronavirus fears. “We don’t think it’s justified at this point,” he said.

Music Industry

The live music business has struggled to respond to the spread of the virus over the past couple of weeks in the U.S. Shows in arenas and clubs continued even as large-scale festivals postponed their events.

Unlike in sports leagues, there is no single organization that can shut the independent music events all at once. Thursday, the largest concert promoters and booking agents in the industry encouraged the postponement of shows until April, at the earliest. But the cessation wasn’t immediate, and concert promoters have been contacting individual artists and venues over the past few days to try and bring an end to large shows in the U.S., the world’s largest live music market.

Concerts have stopped across much of Europe, though many shows remained on the calendar in the U.K. as of Friday.

In Mexico, a low count of cases since Feb. 28 has led some experts to doubt whether the country is performing enough tests.

On Thursday, the Tourism Minister said Mexico is postponing its famed “Tianguis Turistico,” one of the country’s top tourism annual events, due to coronavirus concerns. The event is now scheduled to take place in September.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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