Pearl Jam have postponed their upcoming North American tour, which was set to kick off in Toronto next Wednesday (March 18) at Scotiabank Arena, due to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19.
The band confirmed the news in a series of tweets on Monday, writing, “As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate. It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. We have and will always keep the safety and well-being of our supporters as top priority.”
They noted that their team worked hard to find alternative options, but with many fans travelling from all over the world to make the tour, “the levels of risk to our audience and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level.”
The Twitter thread went on to criticize the U.S. government for its handling of the spread of the virus.
“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,” the band tweeted. “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. Here in Seattle, what we are witnessing we would not wish for anyone.”
The tour postponement follows last week’s news that the upcoming SXSW festival has been cancelled for the first time in its 34-year existence. Reports are swirling that Coachella is also considering postponing until October. This is the first high-profile concert to be cancelled in Toronto, and could be the first of many. Toronto’s Collision tech festival has also been cancelled.
At least 22 people have died due to the virus in Washington state, where there have been 162 confirmed cases. There are at least 35 confirmed cases in Ontario.
Pearl Jam are still scheduled to perform the European leg of the tour, which kicks off on June 23 in Frankfurt, Germany.
All tickets for the cancelled Toronto concert will be honoured for the new date when it is announced. The band, who teamed up with their one-time rival Ticketmaster for the tour, say the ticketing agent will be in touch with those who purchased tickets with more information.
“Just as we look forward to our next concerts and the ability to gather together and play loud songs as energized as ever,” the band concluded. “We are so sorry. And deeply upset. If anyone out there feels the same based on this news, we share that emotion with you.”