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Announcements

Buckle up, kids

UPDATE (September 8:) More show cancellations and postponements: New Haven, Dallas, Tampa, Charleston, Portland and Detroit. Remaining shows are still on the schedule. Only fully vaccinated patrons will be admitted and masks will be required. Even though the venues have been working hard to ensure a safe experience, with the general rate of infections in these areas they feel it’s not prudent to proceed with these shows.

UPDATE (August 13): York and Bensalem, PA shows have been postponed into 2022. The remaining shows are still on the schedule, but attendees will be asked for proof of vaccination (so bring your CDC card), and masks will be required inside the venue for any indoor shows through 2021. Ben’s crew is working with venues to ensure that these requirements can be met. The best bet is to check with the venue if you plan to attend and have any questions. See Ben’s social media (@benfolds on Twitter, @actualbenfolds on Instagram) for the full statement.

With the pandemic shifting gears, Ben has posted some advice about the upcoming tour – specifically, don’t be surprised if there are changes or cancellations to some dates and venues.

Buckle up kids, it’s going to be a wild ride. My upcoming tour is likely to take some unexpected turns as we continue to see the latest COVID virus variants sweep across the country.

While I intend to make my best effort to proceed with our announced shows, there is a possibility that we may be looking at concert postponements or cancellations.

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VIP sessions canceled on upcoming tour

Citing an increase in the spread of COVID variants, Ben has decided to cancel the pre-show VIP events held in conjunction with the upcoming tour of the US. A statement posted to social media expressed the concern in the health risks involved in hosting the intimate sessions in the current climate. Refunds will be issued to those who have purchased tickets to the premium sessions. The evening performances will continue, however. The tour kicks off August 27 in York, Pennsylvania. Visit our tour dates page for details on the scheduled shows.

Folds livestream to help musicians’ mental health effort

Ben Folds will contribute a streaming set to Set Breaka livestream fundraiser by the Backline project to support its mental health and wellness access efforts for musicians, particularly those affected by the pandemic.

The event takes place Saturday, April 10 on The Relix Channel, which streams on TwitchTV, and features sixteen musical acts along with immersive wellness experiences and public service announcements from music industry professionals. (more…)

Folds to host, perform at ArtsVote events

As he did in 2016, Ben Folds will once again be advocating for the arts at both national political conventions. On Thursday, August 20, 2020, he’ll host a one-hour free virtual event prior to the closing night of the Democratic National Convention. Also speaking will be actors Annette Benning and Brian Stokes Mitchell; Megan Bayer, the co-chair of the Biden Arts Policy Committee; and Shepard Fairey, noted graphic designer, skateboarder and founder of the OBEY clothing line. Another live event is slated for August 27, the closing night of the Republican convention.

ArtsVote, a service of Americans for the Arts, is a cooperative effort among musicians, artists and others involved in the arts. The organization advocates for all Americans to register and vote. Those who pledge to vote and encourage others to do the same can have access to artwork, performances and merchandise offerings. There’s also information on how to register and vote in each of the fifty States.

Registration for the event is free but is limited. A recording of the event will be available two days following.  For more information, visit the ArtsVote site.

Folds cancels shows for the rest of 2020

Ben Folds today announced the cancellations of all his shows until at least the end of 2020. Here’s his statement:

This is the official announcement that my touring for 2020 is now canceled and will be rescheduled at the first opportunity in 2021. That’s the important part. But if you’re interested, here’s why I’ve made that decision now:

Infectious disease specialists tell us that COVID-19 will be here for a while, swirling around the globe until it is stopped by a vaccine, and that it is astronomically unlikely that we will develop and distribute that vaccine this year. In fact, we have never before developed a successful vaccine against any coronavirus. Well. That’s all I really need to know.

Just leaving shows on the books, going with wait-and-see until the last minute, is not in the best interest of ticket buyers, promoters, crew and even businesses near venues. It just adds to our endless list of uncertainties. What is needed in a time of such uncertainty, when a historic pandemic is killing people, erasing jobs, and disrupting life as we know it, is to shed as much of that uncertainty as possible, and to take stock of that which is certain.

Health and safety come first. That is certain. The well-being of my audiences — from 12-year olds whose parents cover their ears when I forget not to cuss, to couples their grandparent’s age singing three-part harmonies — is too dear to me to be put at risk. Not to mention those whose paths we might cross once the show lets out. Until this virus is in the rear view — and again we’re told this will not be in 2020 — we cannot be certain large gatherings won’t re-ignite the spread just as it’s been contained. I’m sure that some cities, states and venues might technically allow our concerts much sooner than others. But remember that the USA is a massive country. One city may experience what seems like complete recovery just as another in a neighboring state is seeing an uptick in cases. It would be irresponsible to incentivize music fans to travel from where there was a cancelled show in an infected area, to attend a show in an infection-free area.

Our federal government leaders have decided to let the states and cities fend for themselves, making decisions like these all more stressful. It’s a little like when traffic lights are out during a storm. (Nobody ever complained of the government coming between them and a car accident, did they?) Absent clear direction, we’re all left to rely on what the car ahead of us did, hoping that nobody gets run over in the process. Honestly, absent federal guidance, I took my cue from Taylor Swift who also cancelled all her touring for 2020. A decision like that takes guts, so thank you President Swift. And I’m grateful to have a booking agent, manager, and crew with broad shoulders.

Of course, this is a huge disappointment to me personally.  I’ve never gone a whole year in my two decades plus as a performer without seeing you all from the stage regularly.

Here’s what I say. Let’s get through this and look forward to a time when we can begin the next phase of that long road to recovery. When we can party like it’s 2021 and not like it’s 1918. When we can sing those three-part harmonies with healthy lungs. That is when live music will be able to step in and do its part to heal and inspire. Until then, please stay safe, and remember, no matter how bad it gets, the most comforting certainty is that all this too shall pass.

Ben