Just as the touring industry was primed to bounce back from more than 18 months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the highly contagious Delta variant appears to be putting a crimp in those best-laid plans. Case in point: 1990s nu-metal band Limp Bizkit‘s decision this week to pull the plug on their Limited Last Minute Post Pandemic Popup Party Edition tour.
In a statement, the group explained that they were doing so “out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of the band, crew and most of all the fans.”
In a follow-up message to Billboard, singer Fred Durst dove a bit further into their difficult decision to cancel the tour a week after their triumphant return-to-form main stage set at the full-capacity Lollapalooza festival in Chicago.
“In short, the system is still very flawed,” Durst told Billboard. “Even if the performers, crews, staff, and promoters do their best to ensure safety on and behind the stage, that doesn’t ensure the safety of the audience as a whole. We are all in this together, and we all — individually and as a whole — have to make our best efforts to be as responsible and proactive as possible moving forward to combat and stop spreading COVID.”
Asked if there was a specific incident that prompted them to pull the plug on the theater run originally slated to keep them on the road through an Aug. 24 date at the Palladium in Los Angeles, Durst said there wasn’t anything he could point to, but rather it was “just perception.”
After making it through just four dates, the band announced over the weekend that beginning with the Aug. 6 gig at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, N.J., the planned 12-date outing was off.
According to Rolling Stone, Durst posted an Instagram Story shortly after the scotched Pony show to dispel rumors that guitarist Wes Borland was having health issues. “Let us be clear: 1. Wes Borland does not have Covid. 2. The system is seriously flawed,” Durst wrote. “3. We don’t care much about the BS… We care a lot about you… Dad vibes coming soon.”
Borland also reportedly denied the rumors in his own Story, writing, “I’m not sick… No seriously. No matter what you’ve read, I don’t have Covid. I’m fine. Thanks.”
The Bizkit bounce came as a number of artists are either re-thinking, canceling their dates or insisting that fans be vaccinated in order to attend. Jason Isbell is asking ticketholders to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to come to his shows, while Lynyrd Skynyrd pulled a number of dates after guitarist Rickey Medlocke tested positive for COVID-19. Counting Crows yanked a Boston show just hours before curtain after a member of their touring party tested positive, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival canceled its 2021 event due to the “exponential growth” of new cases in New Orleans.
In describing the hard decision, Durst told Billboard that it was all about solidarity and making sure we take care of each other as hospitalizations and cases have spiked all across the country in what some health experts are beginning to call a pandemic of the unvaccinated. “It’s one for all and all for one, or it’s just not going to work,” Durst said. “I’m willing to do my part. Are you?”