On Monday night, Pearl Jam announced that they are postponing their 2020 North American tour, as concern continues to grow over coronavirus. The band was set to start their trek in Toronto on March 18.
“As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate,” the band explains in a note posted to their site. “Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses. It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.”
The first confirmed case of coronavirus in the US was in Washington state, where officials now believe there are 162 cases and 22 dead as of Monday afternoon. The spread of coronavirus around the world has prompted many to cancel events and limit public gatherings, including the South By Southwest festival that was scheduled to start this weekend.
“So we are being told that being part of large gatherings is high on the list of things to avoid as this global health crisis is now beginning to affect all of our lives. Unfortunately, communing in large groups is a huge part of what we do as a band and the tour we’ve been busy planning for months is now in jeopardy.”
Pearl Jam goes on to explain that safety and the well-being of their supporters remains their top priority, and therefore they have been forced to postpone their upcoming run across North America. “It is with deep frustration and regret that we are forced to make this most unfortunate of announcements... This scheduled first leg of our PJ/Gigaton tour will need to be postponed and shows rescheduled for a later date.”
“We’ve worked hard with all our management and business associates to find other solutions or options but the levels of risk to our audience and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level. Add to that we also have a unique group of passionate fans who travel far and wide. We’ve always been humbled by this and respect their energies and devotion. However in this case, travel is something to avoid.”
The outspoken group continues, by criticizing the response from the federal government. “It certainly hasn’t helped that there’s been no clear messages from our government regarding people’s safety and our ability to go to work," they write. "Having no examples of our national health department’s ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead.”
“Again, here in Seattle what we are witnessing we would not wish for anyone. What we do wish for the rest of the country is that they can avoid the harsh negative effects of this and retain their sense of community and take care of one another,” they conclude. “Just as we look forward to our next concerts and the ability to gather together and play loud songs as energized as ever.”