The only good thing music lovers can say about the summer of 2020 is that it’s almost over, and ready for a do-over.
We’ve made it. We survived without any significant outdoor concerts, festivals, block parties or other big gigs. Now, with Labor Day’s arrival, it’s time to look ahead to what could be the best summer ever.
If optimistic readings of the coronavirus’ slow fade prove true — and the music industry doesn’t completely collapse in the interim — summer 2021 could see one of the busiest concert seasons ever.
That’s a forecast supported by Ann Dunne, assistant general manager at the biggest venue in town, U.S. Bank Stadium. Why does she believe it?
“Because this summer was supposed to be one of the most rocking summers ever,” Dunne said.
She was referring to the fact that the 2021 concert calendar is already loaded up with shows postponed from 2020.
Four of this year’s five concerts at the Vikings stadium have already been rescheduled for next summer: Kenny Chesney, George Strait, the Mötley Crüe/Def Leppard/Poison/Joan Jett superfecta and Rammstein. And the Rolling Stones are planning to follow suit.
“We’re working very closely with [the Stones], and are very hopeful,” Dunne said.
Target Field’s pair of 2020 concerts, Guns N’ Roses and the Green Day-led Hella Mega Tour with Weezer and Fall Out Boy, are also already rebooked for next summer.
So are the 2020 headliners for the Winstock Country Music Fest (Darius Rucker and Luke Combs) and the Twin Cities Summer Jam (Zac Brown Band and Carrie Underwood).
So are some of the First Avenue-promoted concerts scheduled outside the soon-to-be-shuttered Surly Brewing beer hall, including Ween and the Decemberists (which may be moved).
Local arenas will have a busy slate of rescheduled indoor concerts, too.
At Xcel Energy Center, Harry Styles, the Weeknd, My Chemical Romance, Halsey and Reba McEntire are all due again next summer, with Elton John’s new dates pending and the Eagles landing Oct. 1-2. At Target Center, Justin Bieber and Rage Against the Machine are reconfirmed, and a Roger Waters makeup date is expected.
There are also many summer 2020 shows that were not even announced but can be cautiously anticipated for next year.
Twin Cities concert promoters Sue McLean & Associates were just about to unveil the 2020 lineup for their popular Music at the Zoo series when the concert industry shut down in mid-March. They certainly hope to make up for it next year.
“We are hoping to replicate as much of our 2020 summer booking as we can with acts that are eager to get back out on the road,” said SMA President Kimberly Gottschalk.
Like everything else in the era of COVID-19, though, Gottschalk’s and every concert promoter’s optimism is still tempered with many unknowns.
“What is clearly challenging is nailing down the financials with so many variables, including where ticket revenue will land based on what approved venue capacities will look like 10 months from now,” Gottschalk said.
First Avenue general manager Nate Kranz also cited crowd-capacity limits as one of the many factors preventing more concerts from being formally rescheduled or newly booked for next year at their family of venues. Hosting shows with just 25% or even 50% of a typical audience size “will probably just put us in even more of a financial hole,” he said.
Still, Kranz also held out hope that music fans will be able to climb out of their holes by next summer.
“Everyone in the industry seems very gung-ho about things firing on all cylinders again by next summer,” he said.
Only eight or 10 more months to go. Piece o’ cake.
Here’s an updated list of 2020 concert dates that have been reconfirmed for summer 2021.
The Hold Steady: First Avenue & 7th St. Entry, May 21-22.
Ween: Surly Brewing Festival Field, May 29.
Kenny Chesney: U.S. Bank Stadium, June 5.
Winstock Country Music Fest: Luke Combs, Darius Rucker, more, June 18-19.
Justin Bieber: Target Center, June 19.
The Weeknd: Xcel Energy Center, June 19.
5 Seconds of Summer: Armory, June 19.
Halsey: Xcel Energy Center, June 29.
Rage Against the Machine: Target Center, July 2-3.
Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Poison, Joan Jett: U.S. Bank Stadium, July 8.
Guns N’ Roses: Target Field, July 16.
Reba McEntire: Xcel Energy Center, July 16.
Twin Cities Summer Jam: Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band at Canterbury Park, July 22-24.
Primus: Armory, July 23.
George Strait: U.S. Bank Stadium, July 31.
Megadeth and Lamb of God: Armory, Aug. 4.
Maroon 5: Xcel Energy Center, Aug. 7.
The Decemberists: Surly Brewing Festival Field, Aug. 9.
Lindsey Stirling: Armory, Aug. 9.
Ty Segall: First Avenue, Aug. 11.
Deftones: Armory, Aug. 12.
Umphrey’s McGee: First Avenue, Aug. 14.
Green Day, Weezer, Fall Out Boy: Target Field, Aug. 23.
Daryl Hall and John Oates: Xcel Energy Center, Aug. 30.
Doobie Brothers: Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, Aug. 31.
Rammstein: U.S. Bank Stadium, Sept. 3.
Matchbox Twenty and Wallflowers: Treasure Island Casino Amphitheater, Sept. 10.
My Chemical Romance: Xcel Energy Center, Sept. 16.
Trampled by Turtles and Wilco: Treasure Island Amphitheater, Sept. 18.
Harry Styles: Xcel Energy Center, Sept. 22.
Makeup dates still pending: Rolling Stones, Elton John, Roger Waters, Tame Impala, the Lumineers, the National, Dan + Shay, Monsta X, many more.