Latest News: How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Impacting Events

Here we bring you the latest updates on how the global event community is responding to the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic




EuroCIS 2021 Canceled in the Wake of COVID-19

EuroCIS, Europe’s leading trade fair for retail technology, has been canceled. The event, scheduled for March 16-18, 2021 will now take place in February of 2022 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany.

“The decision by the federal and state governments on Nov. 25 to intensify measures in Germany further and probably even prolong them into the new year unfortunately does not give any hopes for a marked improvement until March,” said Wolfram N. Diener, president and ceo of Messe Düsseldorf, in a statement. “We want to give our exhibitors planning security. This is why, after consultations with the exhibitors’ advisory board of EuroCIS and the trade fair’s conceptual sponsor, the EHI Retail Institute, EuroCIS will not be held before February 2022.”

2021 Sundance Film Festival Will Meet Audiences Where They Are

The Sundance Institute unveiled plans for a seven-day 2021 Sundance Film Festival that offers a custom-designed digital platform as well as local drive-ins and screening partnerships with independent cinemas and cultural organizations. All films in the program will be available online in the United States, with certain films opting for global availability. The full event program, as well as the New Frontier section for XR and emerging media, will be available globally. The festival runs Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2021.

SXSW to Take an All-Digital Format in March

While the organizers behind South by Southwest have hinted at a potential in-person event for some time in 2021, the conference will initially take a virtual format March 16-20. Dubbed SXSW Online, the digital event will encompass keynotes, sessions, film festival screenings, music showcases, networking and exhibitions.

“The challenge of building a new future is one that we’re excited to tackle. This has been such a year of change and we, like the entire world, are reshaping our perspective on how we connect. We’re pleased to be working on SXSW Online as part of our program for 2021, and regardless of platform, we will continue to bring together the brightest minds from creative industries worldwide,” said Roland Swenson, ceo and co-founder of SXSW in a statement.

GSMA’s 2021 MWC Series Conferences to Take Place in Person

GSMA’s renowned mobile conference, MWC Barcelona, and its counterpart, MWC Shanghai, will take place in the flesh in 2021, even if the dates have changed. Typically held during the first week of March, MWC Barcelona is now slated for June 28-July 1 and will serve as a hybrid event. MWC Shanghai will now take place Feb. 23-25. Dates for MWC Los Angeles have yet to be released.

In a statement on its website, the GSMA noted that it “continues to work closely with the Host City Parties, and the decision to change the date of MWC21 Barcelona follows a period of planning and consultation with all major stakeholders. The date changes also ensure that 2021 reverts to a full annual cycle of MWC events between Shanghai, Barcelona and L.A.”

Organizers Push the New York International Auto Show to August 2021

The New York International Auto Show, originally slated for April 2-11, 2021, has been pushed out. Organizers announced Oct. 20 that the renowned auto event will now take place Aug. 20-29, 2021, with a press day slated for Aug. 19.

“Looking at all the issues we’re facing, we have determined that moving the dates of the 2021 NYIAS to August is not only the responsible thing to do, but it puts us in a unique position to occupy the expanded Javits Center with an additional 100,000 square feet of new exhibit space on the main floor and much more,” said Mark Schienberg, president of the New York Auto Show in a statement.


Pro and College Sports Event Cancellations

After initially planning to host spectator-less games, the NCAA completely called off the March Madness college basketball tournament. The decision includes men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in divisions I, II and III.

The PGA Tour’s 2020 Players Championship was canceled, while the four top golf tournaments were postponed or canceled.

College football conferences the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced that they will be canceling their seasons amid COVID-19 concerns. The statement didn’t confirm or deny any plans for the fall sports to be played in the spring of 2021. While football is the central sport for the Big Ten, the decision also affects men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

2020 Summer Olympics: Tokyo (July 24-Aug. 9)

The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed. The Games were originally slated for July 24 to Aug. 9 of this year, but were postponed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC president Thomas Bach on March 24.

IOC member Dick Pound initially broke the news on March 23 that the 2020 Olympics would be postponed.

The 3% Conference: Atlanta (October)

The 3% Conference is the latest b-to-b event to take its in-person event virtual. The conference, which addresses gender inequality and was slated for October, will now take the shape of The Future of Work virtual conference, set for July 27-29.

“There’s so much yearning from the industry to have a sense of togetherness, a shared experience and a sense of being informed in a time where there are no certainties. We felt it would be totally wrong and off-brand for 3% to go dark this year,” said Kat Gordon founder and ceo of the 3% Movement. “We had a desire to show up for the community and provide some kind of context for what we’re living through.”

ACM Awards: Las Vegas (April 5)

The Academy of Country Music Awards stated March 15 that the 55th ACM Awards ceremony in Las Vegas has been postponed from April 5 to an undetermined time, date and venue in September.

Adobe Summit & Magento Imagine: Las Vegas (March 29-April 2)

A statement on the event website points to a digital version of the Summit on the horizon, stating, “While we are disappointed that we will not be together in-person with our community this year, we are excited to host Adobe Summit as an online experience.” The virtual event has been dubbed The Digital Experience Conference.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference: San Jose, CA (March 13)

Apple announced March 13 its 31st Worldwide Developers Conference will still be held in June, but will take on a new online format “packed with content” for consumers, press and developers.

“We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead.”

The American Physical Society: Denver (March 2-6)

The gathering of 10,000 physicists has been canceled due to, among factors, “the large number of attendees at this meeting are coming from outside the U.S.,” a statement read.

Arnold Sports Festival Australia: Melbourne (March 20-22)

Australia’s biggest health, fitness and multi-sport festival will not take place as scheduled as a result of the Victorian State Emergency Act, which bans events of 500 or more people.

Arnold Sports Festival organizer Tony Doherty said in a statement: “No scheduled events will proceed at the MCEC, however pending the particulars on the enactment of the Act some scheduled sporting events may run in other locations. This is yet to be finalized, but we hope to make announcements shortly.

Art Basel Hong Kong: (March 19-21)

The Art Basel platform’s Hong Kong event is cancelled and will resume March 25-27, 2021. The event last year drew upwards of 88,000 attendees and serves as on of Asia’s premier art festivals. Those who purchased tickets will receive a full refund.

Art Basel: Miami Beach, FL (Dec. 3-6)

One of the world’s most high-profile art events is a no-go. The organizers behind Art Basel Miami Beach announced that the show, slated for Dec. 3-6, has been canceled in the wake of the pandemic. Given the uncertainty of hosting large-scale events, travel bans and quarantine regulations, the event could not be held in 2020, according to a statement.

“It is with great regret and disappointment that we announce the cancellation of our December show in Miami Beach, as we know how crucial our show is for our galleries, as well as for the greater Miami arts community and economy. We thank everyone who shared their perspectives and insights with us over the past months and weeks and look forward to returning to Miami Beach next year to deliver a successful show,” says Art Basel’s director-Americas Noah Horowitz.

The next edition of Art Basel Miami Beach will take place Dec. 2-5, 2021.

Black Hat Asia: Singapore (March 31-April 3)

The annual information security conference’s website stated, “After careful consideration of the health and safety of our attendees and partners, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Black Hat Asia 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. We understand the inconvenience this may cause and will follow up directly with all of those who are scheduled to attend and exhibit to determine appropriate next steps. Please know we are planning to host Black Hat Asia 2020 in the fall this year. We hope you are able to join us and will provide an update with the new event dates as soon as possible. Our sympathies are with those affected during this difficult time.”

BlizzCon: Anaheim, CA (Nov 6-7)

BlizzCon will not take place in 2020, Blizzard Entertainment announced May 26. The superfan event was slated to take place in early November.

In a statement, BlizzCon executive producer Saralyn Smith said: “We’re talking about how we might be able to channel the BlizzCon spirit and connect with you in some way online, far less impacted by the state of health and safety protocols for mass in-person gatherings. We’d want to do this as soon as we could, but given that this is new-ish territory and the different factors involved, it will most likely be sometime early next year.”

BNP Paribas (Indian Wells Tennis Tournament): California (March 9-22)

The organizers behind the Indian Wells tennis tournament in California (March 9-22) announced the event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, making it the first major U.S. sporting event to be canceled. More than $15 million in prize money was slated to be awarded, Forbes reported.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival: Manchester, TN (June 11-14)

Music fans won’t be heading to “the Farm” this year. Bonnaroo, which was originally slated for June and later rescheduled for September, has been canceled for 2020. The Tennessee-based event will resume June 17-20, 2021. In lieu of an in-person festival, Bonnaroo organizers will host a virtual festival Sept. 24-27. Those who roll over their 2020 tickets to next year will get access to the virtual event for free.

Boston Marathon: (April 20)

The Boston Marathon won’t be run in April as scheduled. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh made the announcement at a press conference on March 13. The event has been postponed to Sept. 14.

Burning Man: Black Rock City, NV (Aug. 30-Sept. 7)

The latest festival to fall prey to COVID-19 is Burning Man in Nevada, originally scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 7. The event will now move to an online offering dubbed Virtual Black Rock City 2020. The theme of this year’s festival was “The Multiverse” and the Burning Man Project announced the virtual show will keep in line with that motif.

Cannes Film Festival: (May 12-23)

The Cannes Film Festival, which attracts around 200,000 people over 12 days, has been postponed until what organizers hope will now be a July event. A statement on the event website reads: “As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known, in accordance with our ongoing consultation with the French Government and Cannes’ City Hall as well as with the Festival’s Board Members, Film industry professionals and all the partners of the event.”

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity: (June 22-26)

In the wake of the pandemic, and after some of the world’s biggest agency groups (WPP, Omnicom) indicated that they would not attend the rescheduled Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Oct. 26-30, organizers officially canceled the event and awards for 2020. The next edition of the festival will take place June 21-25, 2021.


CISCO Live: Las Vegas (May 31-June 4)

The U.S. version of CISCO Live will now take the shape of a free virtual event, June 2-3.

In a statement on the event website, organizers said: “Cisco Live, our premier in-person customer and partner experience of the year, is being relaunched as a complimentary, full-scale digital event, enabling remote participation from anywhere in the world. We’re dedicated to making sure that the experience at digital Cisco Live 2020 reflects the Cisco Live that so many in the community have come to know and love.”

CEMA Summit 2020: Nashville (July 26-28)

During two of the same days as the planned, in-person summit, July 27-28, organizers behind the Corporate Event Marketing (CEMA) Summit will transition the event to virtual.

In a statement, CEMA president and ceo Kimberley Gishler said: “We looked for indicators that we’d be in the clear by late July, but so much in our industry remains unsettled.  We felt we had to make the decision sooner than later to be able to pivot in the best possible way and provide you with new and innovative experiences.”

CISCO Live: Melbourne (March 3-6)

A message on CISCO’s event website stated, “Due to ongoing concerns about the current outbreak of Coronavirus, Cisco has made the difficult decision to cancel Cisco Live Melbourne. Our customers, partners and employees are our top priority and we strongly believe this is the right decision given the current circumstances. Our thoughts are with those directly impacted by this situation.”

CMA Fest: Nashville (June 4-7)

“After careful deliberation,” the organizers behind CMA Fest announced the country music festival will not take place in 2020 and will return in June 2021.

Organizers stated in an email: “In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to bring Country fans and artists together to celebrate the unique spirit and sense of unity that is at the heart of what CMA Fest stands for. We will also share information about future CMA events and ways to support those within our community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and safe, and we hope you will join us for CMA Fest next year, June 10-13, 2021.”

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival: Indio, CA (April 10-12 and 17-19)

Sister festivals Coachella and Stagecoach, which were originally postponed from April to this October, were called off by county health officials on June 10. This will be the first year since 2000 that Coachella, put on by Goldenvoice, has not occurred. New dates for 2021, however, have been announced. Coachella will take place April 9-11 and April 16-18, 2021.

Riverside Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser cited California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-step process for reopening the state as the reason behind the decision to cancel the events, noting music festivals are not permitted to reopen until an effective treatment for the virus is widely available.

Comic-Con International: San Diego (July 23-26)

One of the last major consumer events to fall under the weight of the coronavirus is San Diego Comic-Con, which was canceled for the first time in its 50-year history and will return in 2021.

A statement on the event website read: “Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson for the organization. “We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.”

Content Marketing World: Cleveland (Oct. 13-16)

COVID-19 has shut down another marketing industry event, the Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 Content Marketing World Conference and Expo. The physical conference, which typically attracts 4,000 people to Cleveland, has been canceled, while a virtual event will take its place Oct. 13-16.

COP26: Glasgow, UK (Nov. 9-19)

COP26, a crucial global climate summit set to take place in Glasgow, has been postponed to 2021. Around 30,000 people, including 200 world leaders, were due to attend the 10-day conference.

Democratic National Convention: Milwaukee, WI (July 13-16)

The coronavirus has prompted democrats to postpone the 2020 Democratic National Convention, originally slated for July 13-16, to the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, WI. In a statement on the event website, organizers said: “Ensuring the safety of the convention’s host community and all convention-goers has been—and always will remain—the top priority of the Democratic National Convention Committee.”

EDC: Las Vegas (May 15-17)

Electronic dance music festival Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) has been postponed from May 15-17 to Oct. 2-4 in Las Vegas. A statement from suggests that the original line-up will stay in tact.

Edinburgh International Film Festival (June 17-28)

The UK’s oldest film festival, postponed its 74th annual event and hopes to stage some elements of the show at a later date.

EuroCIS 2021: Düsseldorf, Germany (March 16-18)

EuroCIS, Europe’s leading trade fair for retail technology, has been canceled in the wake of the pandemic. The event, scheduled for March 16-18, 2021 will now take place Feb. 15-17, 2022 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany.

EXHIBITORLIVE: Las Vegas (March 29-April 2)

Although the organizers behind EXHIBITORLIVE initially reported that the show would take place and that zero attendees had backed out, they have since changed their tune.

“Our face-to-face marketing community has experienced significant negative impacts over the past few weeks, impacts that have escalated in the last 48 hours and include corporate travels bans, government travel bans, venues being closed, public events and gatherings being banned, and partnerships being forced to cancel,” a statement on the website reads. “With great disappointment, we must announce the postponement of EXHIBITORLIVE.”

Experiential Marketing Summit: Chicago (May 11-13)

The ultimate training conference on the ultimate marketing discipline is on hold. EM announced March 17 that the Experiential Marketing Summit will not take place May 11-13 in Chicago as scheduled. The show will instead coincide with the Esports Business Summit, taking place Oct. 19-21 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

E3: Los Angeles (June 9-11)

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the biggest event of the year for the gaming industry, has been canceled. The show was scheduled for June. The ESA, which organizes the event, wrote in a private memo to partners on March 10 that it is “exploring options for an online E3 event this summer.”

Essence Festival of Culture: New Orleans (July 1-5)

After stating as recently as March 13 that it planned to move forward with its scheduled dates, Essence Fest announced late March 27 that the event will be moved “closer to the fall” instead. More definitive dates are expected to be announced shortly.

F8 2020 (May 5-6)

Facebook announced it would cancel its annual developer conference slated for this May in San Jose. The statement reads:

“In light of the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 this year, in order to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on. We plan to replace the in-person F8 event with locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.”

Facebook Global Marketing Summit: San Francisco (March 9-12)

In a statement, Facebook spokesman Anthony Harrison cited “evolving public health risks related to coronavirus” as the foundation for canceling the event.

Fortnite World Cup: (Unknown)

Epic Games has announced the cancellation of its marquee event. The brand announced that all of the remaining in-person Fortnite competitions scheduled to take place in 2020 will now be conducted online. The Fortnite World Cup will not take place in 2020 in any capacity.

Game Developers Conference: San Francisco (March 16-20)

Show organizers for the Game Developers Conference originally planned to watch the developments “closely” before making a decision, but ultimately announced it would postpone the show. “After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March,” organizers said. Read the full statement here.

Geneva International Motor Show: Geneva, Switzerland (March 2021)

The 2021 Geneva International Motor Show, slated for March, has been canceled due to COVID-19. Organizers of the show cited a lack of interest from exhibitors as the chief reason for the event’s cancellation.

“The automotive sector is currently going through a difficult phase, and exhibitors need time to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” organizers said in a release.

A majority of the event’s exhibitors who took part in a survey said they would “probably not participate” in a show in 2021, according to the release.

Glastonbury Festival: Pilton, Somerset, England (June 24-28)

Glastonbury, one of the biggest music festivals on the planet, has canceled its 50th anniversary show, slated to take place June 24-28 in Pilton, Somerset, England. Around 135,000 people had already paid a £50 deposit for their ticket to the 2020 event, but have the option to transfer their deposit to tickets for the 2021 festival.

Global Meetings Industry Day: Washington, D.C. (April 14)

A March 18 statement from the Meetings Mean Business Coalition announced that the 2020 Global Meetings Industry Day will not take place April 14 as planned. A new date has not yet been announced. The event serves as an annual day of advocacy that spotlights the positive impact that face-to-face meetings have on businesses and the economy.

Google Cloud Next: San Francisco (April 6-8) 

Cloud Next has cancelled its physical show and will instead connect with attendees virtually via streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and “ask the expert” sessions.

Google I/O: Mountain View, CA (May 12-14)

Google’s biggest show of the year was officially canceled on March 3. All guests who purchased tickets to I/O will receive a full refund by March 13. The brand also pointed to potential plans to convert the physical event into a digital experience.

GoPro Mountain Games: Vail, CO (June 4-7)

The Vail Valley Foundation on May 14 announced that the GoPro Mountain Games will not occur in 2020, stating that it is “pursuing several avenues to keep the spirit of the GoPro Mountain Games alive throughout the summer.”

The foundation is aiming to lift spirits by hosting a virtual concert featuring several of the bands who would have performed at the in-person event as well as past GoPro Mountains of Music performers. The virtual concert event will take place on June 4, the day the Mountain Games was planned to begin.

Governors Ball: New York City (June 5-7)

The Governors Ball Music Festival, held annually in New York City has been outright canceled and will return in 2021.

A statement on the event website read: “We have gone to great lengths to find a postponement date that works for all parties involved. Due to a myriad of planning and logistical issues, we have come to the conclusion that there are no sufficient options available to us. We are pushing ahead, and are already jumping into plans for 2021.”

GTC: San Jose (March 22-26)

Nvidia’s 10,000-person live event is a no-go, but the five-day event will be converted into an online experience. Attendees will receive a refund, but the brand hopes to salvage a chunk of its programming.

HIMSS Organizers: Orlando (March 9-13)

The global health conference’s organizers announced that it is “clearly necessary” to cancel its Orlando-based exhibition (March 9-13) on March 5.

“We recognize all the hard work that so many have put into preparing for their presentations and panels that accompany every HIMSS conference,” said Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS in a statement. “Based on evaluation of evolving circumstances and coordination with an external advisory panel of medical professionals to support evidence-based decision making, it is clear that it would be an unacceptable risk to bring so many thousands of people together in Orlando next week.”

IBC 2020: Amsterdam (Sept. 11-14)

IBC, the world’s second largest broadcast trade show, slated for Sept. 11-14, has been canceled after several weeks of sponsors backing out. The 55,000-person event would have taken place in Amsterdam, where large public gatherings are banned until Sept. 1. IBC will now take its event virtual.

IBM Think: San Francisco (May 5-7)

IBM’s annual 30,000-person Think conference will be a digital-only endeavor this year. The new approach encompasses live-streamed content, interactive sessions and certifications, and locally hosted events, all highlighting IBM technology.

IBTM Asia Specific: Singapore (April 13-14)

Reed Travel Exhibitions announced that it will postpone the inaugural Singapore edition of its trade show platform, but has yet to announce a new date for the event.

In a statement, Shane Hannam, portfolio director at IBTM Events, said:

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly; our customers, partners and team in Singapore have worked incredibly hard on the event and while it is disappointing to postpone, it’s imperative that we prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved. We are extremely grateful for the understanding of our customers, partners and team, and for the strong support we have had since announcing this new addition to our portfolio. We also recognize that business has to continue. With this in mind, over the coming weeks, we will be creating ways of keeping our community connected to support and collaborate and to keep our world moving during this difficult period.”

IMEX America: Las Vegas (Sept. 15-17)

IMEX America 2020, due to take place in Las Vegas from Sept. 15-17, is canceled on what would have been its 10th anniversary. Organizers announced plans to enhance their virtual platform, PlanetIMEX, to offer attendees “innovations and plenty of fresh activity online” in place of the show.

International Manufacturing Technology Show: Chicago (Sept. 14-19)

The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), scheduled for Sept. 14-19 in Chicago, is officially canceled. In lieu of the physical event, organizers will launch two programs. The IMTS Network will feature live streams of features and human interest stories from the manufacturing sector. IMTS Spark will serve as a digital platform that connects IMTS exhibitors and visitors and offers educational and networking opportunities.

Kentucky Derby: Louisville, KY (May 2)

Organizers announced March 17 that the 146th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve will be pushed back from May 2 to September 5.

Churchill Downs Incorporated ceo stated: “Our team is united in our commitment to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever and certainly the most unique in any of our lifetimes. While we are always respectful of the time-honored traditions of the Kentucky Derby, our Company’s true legacy is one of resilience, the embracing of change and unshakeable resolve.”

In addition to the Derby, the 146th Longines Kentucky Oaks will be rescheduled from May 1 to Sept. 4.

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe: Amsterdam (March 30-April 2)

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe have been postponed and will instead be held this summer. Organizers expect to host the show in July or August, 2020. The event website states: “We expect that by mid-summer, there will be more clarity on the effectiveness of control measures to enable safe travel to industry events like this one.”

Lollapalooza: Chicago (July 30-Aug. 2)

Lollapalooza is the latest major music festival to be canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Chicago-based event, slated for July 30-Aug. 2, will now take the shape of a live-streamed, weekend-long virtual experience that will feature “performances from around the city and beyond, epic archival sets from Chicago and the festival’s six international editions, never-before-seen footage from the 1990’s and much more,” according to the festival website.

LGBT+ Events

Almost 500 LGBT+ events have been canceled in the wake of the virus, leading organizers to fundamentally change how Pride Month will be celebrated. The first-ever worldwide LGBT+ event has been confirmed and the virtual Global Pride will see princes, presidents and superstar celebrities address the community on June 27. The experience is part of a wave of digital pride festivals taking place over the next few weeks.

Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival: Las Vegas (Sept. 18-20)

Life is Beautiful, an annual festival held in Las Vegas, has been canceled. Organizers said the festival will make a “full return” in 2021.

A statement on the event website read: “Transformation is at the core of our mission. The needs of our city have evolved and the ways that we can create positivity and joy have evolved along with it. Our job now is to harness and guide that transformation into new growth for the community around us. We can’t wait to share it with you.”

Live Nation, AEG Suspend Large-Scale Tours Through April

The largest concert promoters in the country have halted all large-scale tours in the U.S. and abroad until April. The companies have asked artists to return home.

“At this time, we collectively recommend large-scale events through the end of March be postponed,” said executives from Live Nation, AEG, Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor, Paradigm and UTA in a statement on March 12. “We continue to support that small-scale events follow guidance set by their local government officials. We feel fortunate to have the flexibility to reschedule concerts, festivals, and live events as needed, and look forward to connecting fans with all their favorite artists and live entertainment soon.”

Microsoft Inspire: Las Vegas (July 19-23)

Microsoft on March 23 said it was canceling its annual partner conference Inspire “as an in-person event” due to the coronavirus. The brand said it was exploring other alternatives to bring its partner community together.

Microsoft MVP Summit: Bellevue and Redmond, WA (March 16-20)

Microsoft’s physical Summit has been cancelled and will be replaced with a “digital-first” conference that mimics the real thing. The virtual event is scheduled for the same dates as the original conference.

MWC Barcelona: Barcelona (Feb. 24-27)

The GSMA’s MWC Barcelona, the world’s largest trade show, was the first major event to be canceled in the wake of the coronavirus (and a slate of sponsors that pulled out of the event), sending shock waves across the industry and setting a precedent for other upcoming global conferences.

In a Feb. 12 statement, GSMA ceo John Hoffman said, “With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event… The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.”

NewFronts: New York City (April 27-May 6)

Following the IAB’s decision on March 31 to turn the NewFronts into a virtual endeavor and delay the series of presentations for media buyers to June 22-26, brands including Digitas, Amazon and Twitter told Adweek they will no longer appear at this year’s event.

New York City Marathon (Nov. 1)

The TCS New York City Marathon, the world’s largest marathon event, has officially been canceled due to COVID-19. The race, which would have celebrated its 50th anniversary during the Nov. 1 event, attracts more than 53,000 runners and roughly 1 million spectators.

“While the marathon is an iconic and beloved event in our city, I applaud New York Road Runners for putting the health and safety of both spectators and runners first,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021.”

New York International Auto Show: New York City (April 2020)

The 2020 New York International Auto Show is officially a no-go. The show, which is typically held in April, was delayed until August amid the pandemic. But organizers now say they won’t be able to deliver on that goal and are looking at reviving the event in spring of 2021. The Javits Center, which hosts the auto show, is still being used as a field hospital for patients with COVID-19.

The Next Web Conference: Amsterdam (Jun 18-19)

The conference has been rescheduled to Oct. 1-2 due to growing concerns over COVID-19.

A statement from ceo Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten on the company’s website read: “Although the decision to reschedule our event wasn’t taken lightly, and the current concerns around the virus might, in hindsight, appear overdone, we were partly inspired by the words of M. Leavitt, DHHS: ‘Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after will seem inadequate’.

The NRA Annual Meeting: Nashville (April 17-19)

The National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting & Exhibits program, which attracts more than 80,000 attendees annually, has been canceled for 2020.

According to the NRA, “The 2020 NRA Annual meetings & Exhibits will not be rescheduled. Please make plans to join us for the 2021 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Houston, TX, May 14-16, 2021. This will mark NRA’s 150th Anniversary and will be a Grand Celebration you won’t want to miss.”

Oktane Live: San Francisco (March 30-April 2)

Tech brand Okta will move its annual conference online. The virtual event will be free for anyone to attend, and those who bought tickets to the physical show will be refunded. The event usually attracts 6,000 attendees.

Oktoberfest: Munich (Sept. 19-Oct. 4)

Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest folk and beer festival, scheduled for Sept. 19 through Oct. 4, has been canceled for the first time since World War II, dealing a blow to the Bavarian capital’s economy.

“We agreed that the risk is simply too great,” Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder said at a news conference on April 21. “We are living in different times and living with corona means living carefully.”

Paris Blockchain Summit: Paris (March 31-April 1)

The global summit has been rescheduled for Dec. 9-10. The venue, schedule and setup will remain the same, while the agenda and speaker lineup will include new additions.

Pitchfork Music Festival: Chicago (July 17-19)

The organizers behind the Pitchfork Music Festival say they are “heartbroken” to announce the cancellation of the event due to the pandemic. The festival was scheduled for July 17-19 at Chicago’s Union Park, and will return in 2021.

Presidents Cup: Charlotte (2021)

International golf events the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup will be postponed by a year as a result of COVID-19. The Ryder Cup, a biennial competition, will be held in September 2021. Meanwhile, the shift of that event prompted the rescheduling of the Presidents Cup, which traditionally takes place between years when the Ryder Cup occurs. It was initially set for fall 2021 in Charlotte, but will now be pushed out to 2022.

Rose Parade: Pasadena, CA (Jan. 1, 2021)

The renowned Rose Parade, held annually on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, CA, has been nixed. Organizers of the event announced they could not hold the parade in accordance with California’s reopening schedule, and “after thoughtful consideration of the restrictions and guidelines in place as a result of COVID-19.” The parade drew an estimated 700,000 attendees in 2019.

Ryder Cup: Sheboygan County, WI (Sept. 22-27)

International golf event the Ryder Cup will be postponed by a year as a result of COVID-19. The event, a biennial competition, will be held in September 2021, marking the first time it has been rescheduled since 9/11.

Salesforce World Tour Sydney: (March 4)

The tour has been renamed “World Tour Sydney Reimagined” and will offer “a full program of inspiration and enablement direct to you, streamed from Australia completely online for the first time ever.”

Shanghai Fashion Week: (March 24-30)

Fashion Week will take place as scheduled in Shanghai, but only in digital form. The event was initially postponed. Organizers expect more than 100 Chinese designers and brands will display their 2020 Autumn/Winter designs and market their Spring/Summer products via live stream.

Shanghai International Film Festival: Shanghai (June 13-23)

The 23rd annual Shanghai Film Festival, set for June 13-23, has been postponed indefinitely. Organizers said May 20 that they couldn’t move forward with the festival, but were vague as to what the event’s new dates might be.

“Despite the impact of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, preparations for 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival have progressed steadily thanks to the generous support and deep engagement of the entire film community at home and abroad. We are deeply grateful for what you’ve done for us, and we hereby apologize for any inconveniences caused by the postponement,” organizers said in a statement.

Snap Partner Summit: Los Angeles (April 2)

Snap’s Partner Summit, originally moved online in the wake of the coronavirus, has been postponed altogether. In an internal memo, ceo Evan Spiegel said the brand didn’t “feel like it would be appropriate to celebrate our partners in the midst of a global health crisis.”

South by Southwest: Austin (March 13-22)

Despite recent comments from organizers, who said the show must go on, SXSW has officially been canceled as a result of coronavirus concerns. (A petition that garnered 55,000 signatures called for the event’s cancellation.) This is the first time the Austin event has been canceled in 34 years. High profile sponsors from Twitter to Amazon to Netflix previously backed out of the event.

After the news broke that SXSW would be canceled under Mayor Steve Adler’s declaration of a disaster in the city of Austin, the festival took another hard hit: its insurance doesn’t cover disease outbreaks or local disaster policies. Things like severe weather events and terrorism are among covered scenarios, but COVID-19 is not.

Stagecoach Festival: Indio, CA (April 24-26)

Sister festivals Coachella and Stagecoach, which were originally postponed from April to this October, were called off by county health officials on June 10. New dates for 2021, however, have been announced— Stagecoach will take place April 23-25, 2021.

Riverside Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser cited California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-step process for reopening the state as the reason behind the decision to cancel the events, noting music festivals are not permitted to reopen until an effective treatment for the virus is widely available.

TED2020: Vancouver (April 20-24)

Originally slated to take place April 20-24, the TED conference in Vancouver has been pushed to July 26-30. Organizers made no official statement except to ensure those who had registered for the event were aware of the change.

Tomorrowland Winter: Huez, France (March 19)

Joining the ranks of several other major music festival cancellations, the Winter iteration of the Tomorrowland festival has been canceled, despite previous comments from organizers, who assured attendees the show would go on.

Tony Awards: New York City (June 7)

Broadway’s 74th annual Tony Awards, scheduled to air live on CBS June 7 from New York’s Radio City Music Hall, has been postponed and will take place at an undetermined date. The decision has been anticipated since Broadway shows were shut down for a month on March 12 as a result of the pandemic.

Tour de France: Paris (June 27-July 19)

The world’s premier cycling event has been postponed from June 27 through July 19, to Aug. 29 through Sept. 20, according to the event’s website. Apart from the two World Wars, the tour had never been canceled up to this point. The Tour will follow the same route, with no changes, from Nice to Paris.

Tribeca Film Festival: New York City (April 15-26)

“We founded the Tribeca Film Festival as a way to heal our community after the devastation of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. We were determined to overcome our fear and anxiety by joining together. It is in our DNA to march forward while caring about our community,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises in a statement on March 12.

The film festival has been postponed following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ban on events over 500 in New York. Rosenthal said new plans will be announced shortly.

UFC 249: Lenmoore, CA (April 18)

The UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship has been postponed. It was originally planned for April 18 in Lemoore, CA.

A Twitter post from the brand stated: “While the organization was fully prepared to proceed with UFC 249, ESPN has requested the postponement of the event and subsequent bouts until further notice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. UFC Looks forward to resuming the full live events schedule as soon as possible.”

UFC president Dana White had previously revealed plans to hold the event on a private island.

Ultra Music Festival: Miami (March 20-22)

The annual music festival, which draws 100,000 people from more than a hundred different countries, has been “postponed” to 2021 following an official directive from the city of Miami in its effort to curb the virus.

UpFronts, NewFronts Organizers Pivot to Video Presentations

Disney, Hulu, CBS, CW, Fox, WarnerMedia and Discovery have all announced that their UpFronts will no longer take place in person this May, and will instead be presented in digital format.

“Our team has been planning for this possibility for weeks, and we have devised a digital showcase to unveil all of the premium content that we’re delivering throughout the company, from CBS Television Network and our robust cable portfolio across the Entertainment & Youth and Premium brands,” said Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer, ViacomCBS domestic advertising sales. “We won’t miss a beat in engaging with clients around our unmatched offerings and solutions.”

Twitter and YouTube have canceled their 2020 NewFronts, scheduled to run March April 27-May 6, opting for live-streamed presentations.

NBC will run its own digital UpFront on May 11.

Vans US Open of Surfing: Huntington Beach, CA (Aug. 1-9)

The Vans US Open of Surfing, a week-long surfing competition held annually in Huntington Beach, CA, has been canceled in the wake of COVID-19 concerns. The event will return in 2021.

Jennifer Lau, vice president of action sports at event owner IMG, said in a statement: “The Vans US Open of Surfing has always been about bringing people together in a healthy, fun and interactive environment, and given the size and scale of the event, we can’t see a way to do that this year without sacrificing the very thing that makes it so special. This event would not be the same without the amazing surf, skate, and BMX fans who come out to connect and have fun year after year. We can’t wait to return in 2021 and will be working harder than ever to stage another world-class event at Huntington Beach next summer.”

VidCon US: Anaheim, CA (June 17-20)

The 11th annual VidCon US, June 17 –20, has been canceled. Attendees will be fully refunded by April 15.

In a statement on the event website, Jim Louderback, general manager of VidCon, said organizers are “working hard to bring you a VidCon US experience this fall, and will keep you posted as those details come together. Don’t worry; it will still be an amazing event that you won’t want to miss!” Further details are expected by June 15.

Wimbledon Championships: London (June 29-July 12)

The Wimbledon Championships were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic for the first time since World War II in 1945. Organizers made a joint announcement that all events at all levels of both professional tours have been canceled through July 13, covering the full grass-court season.

WonderCon Anaheim: (April 10-12)

On March 12, in light of the California Department of Public Health’s recommendation that gatherings and events of more than 250 be postponed or cancelled, organizers postponed WonderCon indefinitely. Attendees were slated to receive refunds for badge purchases in the days following the announcement.

WrestleMania 36: Orlando (April 5)

Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski will host a two-night live-streamed spectacle for WWE’s WrestleMania 36, rather than for a live audience. The physical event, April 4-5, will only feature “essential personnel” on a closed set during production.

Zendesk Relate: Miami (March 3-5)

The Zendesk Relate conference in Miami was canceled, but the silver lining was a refund for all attendees. The brand is also working on a creating a digital experience in place of the show.


Here’s What a Coronavirus ‘Super-Spreader’ Event Looks Like

After a choir practice in Washington state in March, 52 out of a 61-person choir became ill, 32 of whom were confirmed to have COVID-19. The event is considered a “super-spreader,” as one person with cold-like symptoms a few days before practice was the catalyst for the other cases. Here’s the breakdown of what a super-spreading event entails.

South by Southwest Sued Over No-Refund Policy

The company behind SXSW is being sued over its no-refund policy, after the festival was canceled amid coronavirus concerns. The lawsuit was filed Friday in a U.S. District Court in Travis County by two people who said they each spent over $1,000 on entry fees to attend, but were denied refunds.

Tokyo Has no ‘Plan B’ for Another Olympic Postponement

There is no “Plan B” for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo if they need to be postponed again as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said. The games have currently been postponed to July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021.

“All I can tell you today is that the new games’ dates for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been just set up,” said Masa Takaya, the spokesman for the Tokyo Olympics. “In that respect, Tokyo 2020 and all concerned parties now are doing their very best effort to deliver the games next year.”

Wimbledon’s Organizers To Receive $141 Million After Taking Out Pandemic Insurance

The organizers behind Wimbledon, which was set to run from June 29 to July 12, but was cancelled because of the pandemic, are set to receive a $141 million payout thanks to the coronavirus pandemic insurance policy it has paid a total of $34 million for, over the last 17 years.

Venues are Getting a Crash Course in Postponement Clauses

It’s no secret that event venue contracts are difficult to navigate. Now, thanks to the coronavirus, venues are necessarily digging into their own postponement clauses.

“We’ll be lucky to get out of this with less than a million-dollar loss in revenue this year,” says Kate Turner, managing partner of 23 City Blocks Hospitality Group in St. Louis. “I think what people forget when dealing with these situations is that on the other side of a venue are people too.”

Image credit: iStock/sorbetto

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