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BTS And Garth Brooks Are Among The Latest To Cancel Tour Dates Due To COVID

BTS performing on <em>Good Morning America</em> in 2019.
Noam Galai
Getty Images
BTS performing on Good Morning America in 2019.

The K-pop supergroup BTS has announced that it is canceling its upcoming world tour.

"Due to changing circumstances beyond our control, it has become difficult to resume performances at the same scale and timeline as previously planned," read a statement from the band's label, Big Hit Music.

BTS has been trying to tour behind its latest album, Map of the Soul: 7, for more than a year now. The group had to cancel its shows in Seoul in February 2020, then postponed its North American dates in March. According to the statement, this marks the final cancellation of the tour. "We are working to prepare a viable schedule and performance format that can meet your expectations, and we will provide updated notices as soon as possible."

South Korea has been struggling with rising COVID-19 rates in recent days. Reuters reported that on Thursday the country reported more than 2,000 new cases for the second time.

BTS is just the latest in a row of big-name acts that have recently canceled tour dates. Country star Garth Brooks called off the next five dates of his record-breaking stadium tour, citing COVID-19 safety concerns: "In July, I sincerely thought the pandemic was falling behind us. Now, watching this new wave, I realize we are still in the fight and I must do my part," Brooks said in a statement.

Nine Inch Nails has also canceled the remainder of its shows for the year, which included some headlining shows as well as a handful of festival appearances. "When originally planned, these shows were intended to be a cathartic and celebratory return to live music," the band said in a statement. "However with each passing day it's becoming more apparent we're not at that place yet."

The highly contagious delta variant has forced much of the live music industry to pivot as it tries to return to normal. Industry giants Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Entertainment have announced new rules and regulations for entry into concerts in recent weeks. Some artists, such as Jason Isbell, have taken a firm stance on vaccine protocols on their shows. Many of the big upcoming music festivals such as Bonnaroo and Riot Fest are also implementing vaccine requirements.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.

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