The concert and performance business in South Korea is growing tense as an increasing number of countries limit travel to the nation due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus. According to the industry as of Wednesday, the ratio of oversea popular musicians cancelling or postponing concerts scheduled for South Korea in March and April have reached 95%.
Live Nation Korea announced that it would be cancelling British pop star Young Blood’s first performance in South Korea, which had been scheduled on March 14. Leading U.S. jazz guitarist Julian Lage’s Seoul concert, scheduled on March 8, was cancelled just six days ahead on the concert. Concerts of other musicians, including Green Day, Mika, Ruel, Khalid, in March and April have been cancelled or postponed.
The spread of COVID-19 has raised an alarm for domestic production agencies and overseas music agencies alike. Both parties frequently exchange e-mails to exchange information on South Korea’s coronavirus situation, local quarantine and immigration laws. "I get numerous e-mails asking with concern whether Seoul has been contained," said CEO Kim Chung-name of Plus Hitch, a production agency that has overseen leading jazz musicians' performances in South Korea. With the decline in the number of flights from the U.S. to South Korea, some musicians have been unable to board flights.
The situation is affecting summer outdoor music festivals as well. "Even if the musician is strongly willing to visit South Korea, s/he must be aware that s/he has to undergo self-containment after visiting the nation, which may affect other concert schedules,” said a festival organizer. “This is of the biggest concern. We are considering replacing musician line up.”
The Seoul Jazz Festival, which is scheduled for end May, is also keeping a close eye on the situation. "We are receiving several inquiries from musicians due to the coronavirus. We are planning to hold the event as scheduled, but we are considering the possibility to change the line-up, under the worst case scenario," said Private Curve, the organizer of the event. “We will be monitoring the situation throughout this month.”
It is uncertain whether performances by leading jazz pianists Jacky Terrason and Benny Green on April in celebration of the UNESCO International Jazz Day can be hosted. "The musicians strongly relate to the purpose of the performance and were determined to attend the event in South Korea," said an organizer of the event. “They had been promoting the event until yesterday, when the investors asked to change plans. They stopped promotion activities and have decided to monitor the situation until the weekend.”