Seattle country fans were elated. For about a week.
After announcing a Labor Day weekend concert at Lumen Field last month, Garth Brooks quickly hit the brakes, stopping tickets from going on sale less than a week later citing COVID-19 concerns. On Wednesday, the honky-tonkin’ showman formally canceled five other shows — for which he’d already sold 350,000 tickets — planned for later this fall, all but guaranteeing that Sept. 4 Seattle trip ain’t happening.
“In July, I sincerely thought the pandemic was falling behind us,” Brooks said in a news release. “Now, watching this new wave, I realize we are still in the fight and I must do my part.”
New dates are being sought for the five cities — Cincinnati; Charlotte, North Carolina; Baltimore; Boston and Nashville, Tennessee — in 2022, though it’s unclear if or when Seattle will be rescheduled. A spokesperson for Brooks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the news release, tour brass will watch how schools, sports and the entertainment industry are impacted by “this stage of the pandemic.”
“I’m sincerely hoping we are back on tour before the year’s end,” Brooks said in the news release. “With that said, the most important thing to me is fulfilling my end of the Stadium Tour by making sure every show is doable before putting tickets on sale (that is why we pulled the Seattle on sale) and making sure the environment these people are trading their time and money to put themselves into is not only the best experience ever, but also the safest one we can provide.”
The quick reversal on Brooks’ Seattle plans underscores how rapidly the concert industry is responding to concerns around rising COVID-19 cases brought on by the more transmissible delta variant. Just this week, a pair of Ben Gibbard shows that were supposed to reopen the Showbox this weekend were kicked to October. Similarly, Texas soul rockers Black Pumas postponed their Aug. 21-22 shows that would have marked the Paramount Theatre’s return. Meanwhile, vaccination requirements (or proof of negative coronavirus test) are becoming the “new normal” at Seattle music venues.