The Domino Effect: Will Ultra Miami's Cancellation Signal More Festivals To Skip 2020?

Ultra Miami 2020 has officially been cancelled due to alleged fears around the spread of Covid-19, or the novel Coronavirus. As the unofficial start to festival season, the immediate concern is what festivals or other events might follow in its path of cancellation for the year.

SXSW is already under immense stress to cancel, with behemoths FacebookTwitter and Amazon pulling out from their planned appearances.

The first music festival of immediate concern however is Coachella. With almost triple the attendance of Ultra and only a month away, I’m already hearing murmurs from numerous sources of a possible cancellation to come from the arguable #1 festival in the world. If this titan falls, it can be expected that most other major events will follow.

EDC Las Vegas is, of course, another festival of massive importance and attendance that isn’t far away. Having a better relationship with the city than Ultra did with Miami, they might not face the pressure Ultra did to stop the event, but the concern about this epidemic, Covid-19 aka Coronavirus, is mounting all the same. Insomniac Events, the team behind EDC, could end up cancelling an absolute multitude of festivals if EDC is taken off the plate for 2020. This would spell certain disaster for the EDM industry at large.

Rumors of Tomorrowland cancelling have been swirling, as well, though being further off in the calendar than either EDC or Coachella gives it some breathing room.

It’s very important to note, however, that the ensuing panic caused by Ultra’s fall should not affect other events moving forward. The city of Miami has tried to oust Ultra many, many times over the past few years and their disdain for the massive festival must certainly have contributed to this rushed cancellation. EDC and Coachella and even Tomorrowland are indubitably in much better relations with their host cities and will hopefully be that much better equipped to deal with the epidemic as a result.

Other countries are already instituting bans on public events too. France has banned any public event in a ‘confined space’ with over 5,000 people. Italy’s government is set to close cinemas and theaters and ban public events countrywide. And the British prime minister Boris Johnson has been urged to ban public events in Britain. Schools are also closing in countries around the world.

Major promoters in the live event space certainly have enough funding in the bank to weather the storm, but the impact the cancellations of these events will have on the financial situations of independent artists and their teams is most frightening of all. EDM is often referred to as “event driven marketing” for a reason. Few artists stream well enough in this space to make sustainable passive income sitting at home. With the fear of more and more event cancellations to come, we can only hope that major national players like Insomniac don’t overreact to the first domino to fall: Ultra’s Miami 2020 event.


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