Lettuce and Umphrey’s McGee, two established rock bands that had planned to celebrate the arrival of the new year with their Miami fans, have decided to pull the plug on their respective concerts at the end of the year.
Veteran prog-rock-meets-jam-outfit Umphrey’s McGee was scheduled to star in a trio of shows at Fillmore Miami Beach on Dec. 30, 31 and Jan. 1. A statement from the band shared to its social media pages directly cites the recent increase in COVID-19 cases as the reason for the cancellations.
“Rapidly increasing numbers of cases across the country make large indoor gatherings more risky, even more so as people gather for the holidays and increase travel. The complexity of this virus, the logistics of event production and the increasing difficulties of accessing timely testing (for band / crew, venue staff and fans for access) remains an endless battle, “the band said in a statement.” As a growing circle of family, friends and peers continue to contract the virus, UM and our initiators agree, that it is not realistic to conduct safe, responsible and successful events. ”
Salad followed suit, revealing that it would postpone its upcoming series of Florida shows, which had included two nights at the North Beach Bandshell on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 (with Flamingosis as the opening act). The funk fusion band did not mention COVID-19 in its announcement, but confirmed that the two shows would be rescheduled with an announcement about the new dates that will be announced soon.
GMP Live is the co-producer of the two Salad shows at North Beach Bandshell in collaboration with the Rhythm Foundation. It was at the outdoor beachfront location along Collins Avenue where Plotnicki and his brother welcomed fans from across the country to the inaugural two-day North Beach Music Festival earlier this month.
“I’m disappointed, but these are the COVID times we live in,” says GMP Live’s Gideon Plotnicki New Times. “That [Lettuce] shows seemed like they would move on as we used an outdoor venue and we had decided to sell a few hundred tickets less than the venue’s legal capacity so spacing would have been possible. ”
Salad and Umphrey’s McGee are not the only holiday events in the South Florida region that have been canceled this week, as cases of the highly virulent but apparently less deadly Omicron variant continue to spread. iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball all-star concert, scheduled for Dec. 19 at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, was canceled on the morning of the event.
The past week has been filled with an all too familiar sense of collective anxiety for those still working in the concert industry. Venues and promoters across the country are again seeing the domino effect trend with concert cancellations from New York City to Denver, adding more damage to an already weakened live event industry that has spent the year slowly restarting after shutting down indefinitely in March 2020.
At the local level, Omicron’s surprisingly rapid spread across the region has resulted in unusually long COVID test lines across Miami-Dade leading up to the holiday.
“I think this new Omicron variant is spreading so fast that it has surprised the industry. Whatever vaccines and treatments are available, the fact is that many fans – and artists – are still not 100 percent comfortable with indoor shows. , and Omicron has caused the collective anxiety to escalate and forced the industry to phase out plans that were months – if not years – along the way, ”says Plotnicki.
“Many of the concert cancellations for New Year’s Eve that happened nationwide [this week] were preventative cancellations, “he adds.” And I fully support that for indoor venues in this time of confusion. The cancellation of the salad is for a few specific reasons, but I would not call it a cautious cancellation as everyone was comfortable with the outdoor environment; it is simply unfortunate timing. ”