At this rate, spring 2014 may go down in music history as the “spring of cancelled tours,” as an inordinate number of high-profile artists have had to come off the road for one or more legitimate reasons. At least four major tours have been affected, and by sheer coincidence, most of the cancelled dates have affected Australia.
The slew of cancellations seems to have started in March when The Rolling Stones appropriately postponed a portion of their 50th Anniversary world tour in the wake of the tragic death of Mick Jagger’s longtime girlfriend, L’Wren Scott to suicide. The cancellations affected tour stops in Australia and New Zealand, and while plans are to reschedule this leg of the tour in the fall, the Daily Mail reports the cancellations could cost the band as much as $10 million in revenue. The Stones plan to pick up their regular touring schedule in May.
Then just last week, news came in rapid-fire succession that three more artists are dropping tour dates—most notably Miley Cyrus, who was hospitalized after a sinus infection, followed by a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics. Cancelled dates affected several U.S. cities, although she also plans to start again in May with the European leg of her tour. A few days later, new teen sensation Lorde revealed on Twitter that she was calling off eight Australian tour dates under pressure from her parents due to “a nasty chest infection” and “general ill health,” adding that she had been going non-stop since the Grammy Awards. And blues/rock icon Gregg Allman was also forced to disappoint Australian fans with several cancelled tour dates this month, due to a broken wrist. (He also missed shows with the Allman Brothers in New York last month due to bronchitis.)
So why is this turning into the “spring of cancelled tours?” Since all the incidents are unrelated, unless you’re a conspiracy theorist, it’s difficult to explain the timing as anything but pure coincidence. As to the causes behind them, sometimes (as with the Rolling Stones) it’s just unfortunate circumstances. But when multiple artists (especially young ones) are calling off tours due to illness, one has to wonder whether the extreme pressures to perform and/or the general stress of modern stardom is having a bad affect on their general health. Are they pushing themselves too hard? Are the demands of touring too much to handle? Is there anything that can be done to lighten the load?
Of course, it’s all speculation, and in most cases, the tour dates are being rescheduled for later this year (buck up, Australia). Meantime, let’s hope these artists heal up soon, and that we’ve seen the end of this run of cancelled tour dates for awhile.