Neil Young has shared his thoughts on gigs taking place during COVID-19, calling them “super-spreader events.”

Always outspoken, thankfully the legendary artist didn’t have any controversial opinions here, instead presenting a reasonable viewpoint on the current COVID situation. In a post titled ‘Concerts and Covid’ on his website Neil Young Archives Times-Contrarian, he called gigs “super-spreader events”, stating that their promoter were responsible.

“It will take the big promoters and managers/ agents to make the difference,” he said in the post. “If it’s all about money, I think they should protect the people who are their livelihood. 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.”

Young explained that he’s lived up to his own words too, pulling out of Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid Festival that’s scheduled for next month. He commended artists such as Garth Brooks for doing likewise, with the country singer cancelling shows on his upcoming stadium tour due to surging COVID numbers.

Some promoters such as Live Nation have been doing their bit to try and make attending concerts safer (Live Nation recently decided that all of its venues and festivals will require both artists and fans to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test if they wish to attend shows from October 4th onwards). Young, however, doesn’t think that’s enough.

“They control much of the entertainment business,” he wrote. “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 super spreaders. These giants of entertainment just renovated a lot of old venues and spent a lot of cash to do that. Now they can’t stop selling tickets to pay for it. Money and business. That doesn’t make this OK.

Folks see concerts advertised and think it must be OK to go and mingle. It’s not. “These are super-spreader events, irresponsible Freedom Fests. We need Freedom to be safe. Not a bad example.”

Love Live Music?

Get the latest Live Music news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

For more on this topic, follow the Live Music Observer.

Check out Neil Young Live in Concert at the BBC in 1971:

YouTube VideoPlay

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine