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Pearl Jam postpones North American tour due to coronavirus

In this Friday, April 7, 2017,  photo, inductee Eddie Vedder from the band Pearl Jam performs at the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in New York. Pearl Jam is postponing multiple U.S. and Canadian shows on their Gigaton tour because of coronavirus concerns. (Charles Sykes / Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
In this Friday, April 7, 2017, photo, inductee Eddie Vedder from the band Pearl Jam performs at the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in New York. Pearl Jam is postponing multiple U.S. and Canadian shows on their Gigaton tour because of coronavirus concerns. (Charles Sykes / Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
By August Brown Tribune News Service

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The Seattle rock group Pearl Jam has postponed the North American leg of its upcoming tour due to coronavirus. It’s one of the first major U.S. tours to fall victim to the fast-spreading virus.

The tour, in support of the band’s upcoming album “Gigaton,” was planned to begin March 18 in Toronto, with all shows through April 19th’s Oakland, Calif., date postponed indefinitely.

“As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate. Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses. It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better,” the band wrote in a statement posted to its website Monday. “So we are being told that being part of large gatherings is high on the list of things to avoid as this global health crisis is now beginning to affect all of our lives.”

The band also had some harsh words for the Trump administration’s response to the crisis.

“It certainly hasn’t helped that there’s been no clear messages from our government regarding people’s safety and our ability to go to work. Having no examples of our national health department’s ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead,” they wrote. “Again, here in Seattle what we are witnessing we would not wish for anyone. What we do wish for the rest of the country is that they can avoid the harsh negative effects of this and retain their sense of community and take care of one another.”

The Seattle area has perhaps been hit hardest of any city in the U.S., with 20 deaths in King County as of Monday.

While many acts including BTS and Green Day have canceled Asia dates, Pearl Jam’s tour is one of the first and largest to be nixed in the U.S. After the cancellation of South By Southwest in Austin and Ultra Music Fest in Miami, and as music fans await news of the upcoming Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, it’s becoming clear that this will be an extremely challenging year for the concert industry.

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