Everything was canceled in 2020. What about 2021?
By Derrick Bryson Taylor
Early last year, as international lockdowns upended daily life, they took with them, one by one, many of the major cultural and sporting events that dot the calendar each year. The NBA suspended its season, the French Open was postponed for several months and the Tokyo Olympics were delayed a year. The future of the Glastonbury Festival and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival were in doubt. It was a bleak time.
Recently, as conditions in many places around the world have slowly begun to improve, and as countries have begun mass vaccination campaigns, some events and cultural staples have made plans to return, albeit with modifications. While few events, if any, have plans to go ahead free of restrictions this year, some are taking a hybrid approach. Others remain postponed or canceled.
Here’s the status of some of the major events around the world.
SPORTS: The Olympics are full steam ahead.
The Tokyo Olympics, which were delayed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, are scheduled to begin July 23 with an opening ceremony. The bulk of the athletic events will begin the next day. The first round of Wimbledon begins June 28 and will run through mid-July. Officials said they were working toward a spectator capacity of at least 25 percent.
The 125th Boston Marathon, which is usually held in April, is now scheduled for Oct. 11, and the 50th New York City Marathon is set for Nov. 7.
The 105th Indianapolis 500 will go on as planned May 30. Officials will allow about 135,000 spectators in — 40% of the venue’s capacity. The event was organized with state and local health officials and was approved by the Marion County Public Health Department, race officials said.
The French Open, one of the premier tennis competitions, has been postponed one week to a new start date of May 24. The decision was made in agreement with the authorities in France and the governing bodies of international tennis, said officials, who want the tournament played in front of the largest possible number of fans.
MUSIC: Coachella and Glastonbury are holding off.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which typically draws big headliners like Beyoncé and is an annual pilgrimage for some of the more than 100,000 fans who trek to Southern California, is canceled again this year.
In January, organizers for the Glastonbury Festival said it would not take place this summer.
The Essence Festival of Culture, which usually draws more than a half million people to New Orleans over the Fourth of July weekend every year, will host a hybrid experience this year over two weekends: June 25-27 and July 2-4.
Headliners like Billie Eilish, Post Malone and ASAP Rocky will take the stage at the Governors Ball Music Festival, which is scheduled for Sept. 24-26 at Citi Field in New York. Organizers say the event will return to its typical June dates in 2022.
Burning Man, the annual countercultural arts event that typically draws tens of thousands of people to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, has been canceled again this year because of the pandemic. It will return in 2022, organizers said.
After being canceled last year, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, held at Zilker Park in the capital of Texas, is scheduled to return on Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-10.
CULTURAL EVENTS: Broadway is coming back.
A delayed 2021 Met Gala, the annual benefit at the Metropolitan Museum that draws scores of celebrities and fashion-industry elites, will happen Sept. 13. A second event is scheduled for May 2022.
NYC Pride 2021 will move forward in June with virtual and in-person events. The Pride March, which was canceled last year, will be virtual this time. (San Francisco Pride, also in June, is planning similar adjustments, while Atlanta Pride is planning to hold an in-person event in October.)
The Lucerne Festival, which offers a range of events featuring classical orchestras, ensembles and more in Switzerland, will run from Aug. 10. In order to keep concertgoers safe, organizers said events will not have intermissions and its venue will have a limited number of available seats. Similarly, the Salzburg Festival in Austria kicks off in mid-July with modifications.
The Edinburgh International Festival, a showcase for world theater, dance and music in the Scottish city since 1947, will run Aug. 7-29. Performances will take place in temporary outdoor pavilions with covered stages and socially distanced seating.
E3, one of the video game industry’s most popular conventions and a showcase for developers’ latest news and games, will be virtual this year from June 12-15.
The New York International Auto Show, which showcases the newest and latest automobiles from dozens of brands, will run Aug. 20-29. The event last year was postponed and eventually canceled because of the pandemic.
The Cannes Film Festival in the South of France, one of the movie industry’s most revered events, was canceled last year. In 2021, it has been postponed to July 6-17, from mid-May, and is currently scheduled to be in person.
After more than a year of no theater performances, Broadway shows will start selling tickets for full-capacity shows, with some performances starting Sept. 14. (Some shows in London’s West End will resume as early as May 17.)
After being virtual last year, New York Comic-Con will return with a physical event Oct. 7-10 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The convention will run at reduced capacity, organizers said. This year’s Comic-Con International event, which is normally held in July in San Diego, has been postponed until summer 2022. There are plans for a smaller event called Comic-Con Special Edition, however, that will be held in person in November.