Guns N’ Roses Play Festival Despite Coronavirus Fears
Guns N’ Roses played on despite the coronavirus pandemic last night (March 14), performing their scheduled headline set at the Vive Latino festival in Mexico City.
While several other artists pulled out over concerns that large gatherings and international transit could increase the chances of the disease spreading to people at risk of severe suffering, Axl Rose and company delivered a 22-song performance including their first performance of “So Fine” since 1993. Several festivals they’d previously been confirmed for have since been postponed.
Mexican duo Rorigo y Gabriela announced that all their performances in Mexico had been postponed, while British band Mogwai said their no-show was a result of “the current international travel risks associated with Covid-19.” Several other artists also pulled out, with the festival citing "logistical issues.
However, Bloomberg reported that organizers had not been told to shut it down by the Mexican government – although authorities had postponed the nation’s international Tianguis Turistico event. “Our position is to carry on with the festival because we think it would be irresponsible not to,” Vive Latino director Jordi Puig said. “We’re going with what authorities have told us.” He confirmed that additional sanitizing steps had been taken around the six-stage arena and that refunds would not be paid to those who didn’t want to attend over virus fears. “The party must go on,” he argued. “We don’t think it’s justified at this point.”
Guns N’ Roses - ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ at Vive Latino 2020
Guns N’ Roses - ‘Paradise City’ at Vive Latino 2020
Guns N’ Roses - ‘November Rain’ at Vive Latino 2020
Billboard reported that Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum had received a backlash after explaining why some but not all mass gatherings were being called off. “Vive Latino will take place this weekend and some other activities, that were planned, that don’t have economic impact, those will be postponed,” Sheinbaum said. “Why is Vive Latino continuing? Because we’re still in Phase 1. So suspending mass events is not necessary. However, activities that have no [economic] impact, it’s better to postpone those.”
It's likely – although not confirmed – that financial and insurance agreements mean that organizers would pay a heavy cost for canceling or postponing without government instruction, and that artists face similar contractual restrictions when it comes to canceling appearances while the event remains scheduled. Billboard noted that Vive Latino was run by a company owned by Live Nation, who called a halt to all large-scale shows in the U.S. last week.