Neil Young Slams "Big Promoters" for Hosting "Superspreader" COVID Concerts

The artist recently dropped out of his Farm Aid appearance because of safety concerns

Photo: Joshua Peter Grafstein

BY Allie GregoryPublished Aug 27, 2021

Recently, Neil Young pulled out of his scheduled Farm Aid performance for the safety of his audience, citing surging coronavirus infections fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant. Now, the rock icon has doubled down on his stance against large-scale gatherings, calling COVID concerts "superspreader" events and placing the blame on "big promoters" like Live Nation and AEG. 

Young took to his Neil Young Archives website to post a lengthy op-ed on the topic of COVID-era concerts, explaining that he doesn't have any plans to perform for the time being, at least not while young children remain unvaccinated and vulnerable.

"I know of tours that are out there and have to stop where they are and isolate in motels because one person among them tested positive," Young wrote. "And I ask myself, why are they out there? Money and business. These two need each other. This has been the American way for years and years. Now it has turned on the country in a new way."

Young continued:

Garth Brooks and others like him have been responsible and pulled back from doing shows. That's a good example. But it will take big promoters and managers/agents to make the difference. It's all about the money… The big promoters, if they had the awareness, could stop these shows. Without that, everyone just keeps going like everything is OK. It's not.

Live Nation, AEG, and the other big promoters could shut this down if they could just forget about making money for a while. They control much of the entertainment business. They hold the power to stop shows where thousands congregate and spread. It's money that keeps it going. Money that motivates the spreading. The big promoters are responsible for superspreaders.

Young continued to explain that "folks see concerts advertised and think it must be ok to go and mingle," when maybe "it's not."

Read the full post here

For his part, the artist kept his fans entertained with his "Fireside Sessions" home concert series during the early days of the pandemic, in an effort to encourage viewers to stay home and stop the spread. 

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