William Felch – Five Finger Death Punch
led by singer Ivan Moody and guitarist Zoltan Bothary.
Artist Group International’s Peter Pappalardo, based in New York which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus, found himself in a situation all music agents have in recent weeks – needing to cancel, reschedule or wait out tour plans as the COVID-19 situation materialized in the United States. In this case, it was a very successful tour of major U.S. markets in April-May for metal band Five Finger Death Punch.
“We were extremely fortunate to see this coming very early when the coronavirus started,” Pappalardo says. “Several weeks ago we started looking at backup plans. We wanted to move the April-May arena tour into the fall/winter because we had a feeling we’d get pushed back. Ticket counts had been fantastic, projecting to do north of 10,000 a night, and we didn’t want to cancel that leg. So we went to re-route the tour incredibly quickly, and were able to announce all the rescheduled dates, which I think people were very appreciative of.
“The fans understood what was going on and knew the plan. We were super psyched about having the plan in place to tell fans right away, hold on to your tickets, we’re coming back.”
Pappalardo says the team was fortunate to take action quickly but, still, “I don’t think anyone thought it had the potential to stretch into the summer. Give all the credit in the world to our partners at Live Nation who understood and helped us very quickly and very efficiently find dates, reschedule everything and put a routing together that would work in a window – starting at the end of October, knock on wood – that feels like a safe time to execute the tour.”
The impact on Pappalardo’s job as a whole has been profound.
“It took me three days to undo what took us six to nine months to plan, it’s that quick,” he says. “Tours jumping, moving, canceling.There’s different types of touring – full tours you have to pick up and move, artists coming from Europe to perform and don’t know when they can come back to the country, embassies are closed, you can’t get visas worked out. It’s a much deeper problem [than just moving dates]. It’ll take years to sort out what happened and how bad it really was.
“I will say this. The business in general, we’re in a business of sharks for the most part, right? But there has been a comradery between the agents and promoters and artists. Everybody realizes what we’re up against, it’s been fascinating and I’m really amazed to see how everyone is working together to do what is best for the industry, the artists, the fans and ticketholders. Everybody is trying to do what they think is the right thing for everyone. It’s really nice to see.”