Virus concerns bloom in entertainment sector

Virus concerns bloom in entertainment sector

Virus concerns bloom in entertainment sector

As the novel coronavirus continues to take its toll on lives and forces many countries to impose quarantines, many major events, such as the Venice Biennale and Coachella, have been postponed. 

No big event in Turkey has been postponed yet, as it has one coronavirus-positive case confirmed so far.   

Italy is one of the countries most affected by coronavirus. Quarantine has been declared all over the country. 

The 17th International Architecture Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s leading architectural events, was to be held between May 23 and Nov. 29. The biennial has been postponed and will run from Aug. 29 to Nov. 29.  

This year, “Architecture as Measure,” curated by Neyran Turan, was selected to represent Turkey in the event. For the first time this year, a Turkish architect was chosen among the participants of the Venice Biennale Architecture Main Exhibition. 

Among the 114 names chosen from all over the world, the famous architect Han Tümertekin was also included. Tümertekin’s project was to be exhibited in Arsenale.
On March 10, a day before the first COVID-19 case was confirmed, leading representatives of the Turkish entertainment sector came together to evaluate the situation.

Zorlu PSM General Manager Murat Abbas, BKM CEO Zümrüt Arol Bekçe, Positive Manager Ayşegül Turfan, The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) General Manager Görgün Taner, Deputy General Manager Yeşim Gürer Oymak, Jazz Festival Director Harun İzer and İKSV Hall Director Deniz Kuzuoğlu were among the attendees of the meeting. 

They decided to follow the developments abroad and in the country closely and act together, also determining the measures to be taken during the activities.

Major events in world canceled, postponed 

Also, the past week has seen major events including Miami’s Ultra electronic dance music fest and Austin’s famed South By Southwest culture and tech 10-day event cancelled, and the spring’s premier Coachella festival postponed until October.

Pearl Jam, Madonna and Santana are among the A-list artists who’ve dropped or postponed concert dates at home and abroad over virus fears, with fine arts venues like the Boston Symphony Orchestra and New York’s American Ballet Theater also cancelling tours in Asia and the Middle East.Adam Siegel, the entertainment manager at American Agents & Brokers, an insurance company whose clients include Ultra, said that massive events like Coachella might have four to five different insurance policies.

Terrorism insurance has been commonplace since 9/11, and many American events now buy active shooter insurance, he said, but the average contract doesn’t have a clause for communicable disease threats.

Now it’s too late: “You can’t get insurance on a building when it’s already on fire. If they have a policy that’s going to respond, in most cases we need a government entity of some sort to pull the plug,” Siegel said.

That requirement is likely why California’s Coachella festival, which has been sold out for months, and expects 125,000 fans daily over the two April weekends, waited until Riverside County declared a public health emergency, and ordered the rescheduling.

A mandate from Riverside County, the municipal authority where the desert music festival takes place, to cancel or move the show would trigger any protective insurance policy promoters have, Siegel said.

It could also allow events to exercise a “force majeure” clause in performance contracts, which waive financial liability between promoters and artists in the case of extreme, unpredictable emergencies.

Coachella nets between $75 million and $100 million in profits each year, according to the LA Times. For now, it’s just postponed, but in the event of cancellation an insurance payout due to force majeure could hover between $150 and 200 million.

Depending on individual contracts, artists would likely keep whatever payouts they’ve already received but might be out money already spent on set production.

The economic consequences of pushing back or cancelling major festivals and events reach far beyond promoters and artists, Siegel said.

“There’s a lot at stake,” he said. “There’s a lot more people that are in this food chain that are going to be affected -- vendors, crew, local businesses.”    “In a gig economy, many people who have been booked to work Coachella, for example, could be out a lot of money.”  

Just under 400,000 people live in the Coachella Valley, with a population that skews older, the very people coronavirus could hit hardest.

Large entertainment companies like AEG, the parent company of GoldenVoice, which puts on Coachella, or Live Nation will “take a hit,” he said, but it’s the independent club owners facing serious financial threats.

But as the world reels from cancellations, it appears venues can count on at least one artist to stick it out.

Bob Dylan, 78, on March 10 announced a summer North American tour on top of April’s schedule that has him playing 14 dates in Japan.