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COVID-19 keeps concert industry in delay mode

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

l Those COVID-19 vaccinations aren’t rolling out fast enough to keep most of the entertainment news from being about postponements and cancellations instead of new attractions — unless you’re playing country music.

The Elevation Group, which stages WonderStruck (the former LaureLive festival), announced it has its 2021 lineup of performers set and has reserved multiple weekends at Lakeland Community College, but it won’t make any official announcement until it’s clear that the festival is possible while complying with health and safety guidelines.

Bunbury in Cincinnati hasn’t written off 2021 but doesn’t offer much encouragement. Nelsonville Music Festival has updated its wait-and-see statement from two months ago.

Promoter Danny Wimmer Presents announced last week the Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival, a hard rock weekend in Columbus, will be canceled for the second consecutive year.

However, DWP also announced it has acquired the Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival, held on the ground of the former Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, and that festival will happen July 23 to 25, even if it means operating at a limited capacity. No ticket prices, on-sale dates or performers have been announced yet.

One new outdoor summer event does have a lineup set. The Highway 77 Music Festival is scheduled Sept. 12 at Canton’s Hall of Fame Village. It features a youthful country bill headlined by Dan + Shay, who will be joined by Kelsea Ballerini, Maddie & Tae, Eric Paslay, Tyler Farr and others to be announced. Tickets are on sale now at www.HOFVillage.com.

It joins several previously announced country festivals in Ohio.

l Things also are in flux at outdoor concert venues.

The Cleveland Orchestra canceled indoor concerts at Severance Hall through June but said it has plans for 10 outdoor concerts in July and August at Blossom Music Center “for limited capacity, socially distanced audiences.” Those shows will be announced in the coming weeks.

Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls and the Pavilion at Star Lake (another new name that’s awfully close to the original name) in Burgettstown, Pa., both have at least a dozen shows on their summer calendars, all rescheduled dates from 2020. However, most if not all of those shows aren’t possible if restricted to “limited capacity, socially distanced audiences.” And Live Nation, which operates both venues is being like Elmer Fudd — vewy, vewy quiet — about its summer plans.

l It’s not just music events that continue to be affected.

All-American Cards and Comics owner Greg Bartholomew announced last week there won’t be a Youngstown Comic Con. It’s the second year COVID-19 has forced cancellation of the Covelli Centre event.

Wizard World also is scrapping its 2021 event in Cleveland. The pop culture convention plans to return to Cleveland in 2022 at a time and venue to be announced.

l One of the many shows that’s been rescheduled multiple times due to COVID-19 is singer Brian McKnight at Packard Music Hall.

For those who can’t wait until July 1 (the current date) to hear the man who sang “Back at One,” “Love Is,” “You Should Be Mine (Don’t Waste Your Time)” and other R&B and pop hits, McKnight will join saxophone player Dave Koz and vocalist Shelea for a livestream Valentine’s weekend concert called “A Romantic Night In.”

Expect love songs to dominate the playlist for the 8 p.m. Saturday performance. Tickets are $35 at www.davekoz.com, and the price includes a digital download of Koz’s “A Romantic Night In” album.

Andy Gray is the entertainment editor for Ticket. Write to him at agray@tribtoday.com.


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