Dead & Company Cancels Mexican Destination Fest Due To COVID-19

Jay Blakesberg
– Company Men
Dead & Company performs at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, Sept. 17, 2021. The band’s John Mayer and Bill Kreutzmann will miss the first weekend of Dead & Company’s Mexican destination event for health-related reasons.

UPDATE: Less than a day after announcing that John Mayer would be unable to participate in the first weekend of Dead & Company’s Mexican destination fest Playing In The Sand due to a positive COVID-19 test, Dead & Company announced the cancellation of both weekends of the event.

“With much sadness and after great consideration of every possible scenario, the Playing in the Sand shows in Riviera Cancun on January 7-10 and January 13-16 have now been canceled by CID Presents due to the spiking COVID-19 cases,” the band wrote in a statement. “Dead & Company and CID Presents tried everything possible to bring normalcy and to deliver a great experience and amazing music, but with each day it became increasingly clear that canceling is the correct thing to do for the fans and for our crew. Please refer to the Playing in the Sand email that will be sent shortly with all details about refunds. See you soon, hug your loved ones, stay safe and be kind.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: John Mayer will not join Dead & Company for the first weekend of Playing In The Sand, the band’s recurring Mexican destination fest, which kicks off Jan. 7 due to a positive COVID-19 test result, the band announced late Wednesday.

“Today, just prior to leaving for Mexico, per his physician, John Mayer tested positive for COVID-19 and will be unable to perform at the upcoming Playing In The Sand event in Riviera Cancun January 7-10,” a statement from the band read.

Mayer’s diagnosis follows news earlier this week that Grateful Dead co-founder Bill Kreutzmann, one of Dead & Company’s two drummers, would be unable to join the band in Mexico due to a persisting non-COVID health issue that also sidelined him for a handful of shows in October.

“Playing in the Sand has become my favorite tour stop in recent years and there’s so much about it that’s just so great,” Kreutzmann wrote on social media Jan. 3. “And thus, it is with a heavy and still recovering heart that I have to relay a note that I received from my doctor this morning ordering me to sit this one out.”

Accordingly, Dead & Company revealed that this weekend’s event – the first of two consecutive weekends of Playing In The Sand – will feature a new ensemble, Dos Hermanos con Amigos, comprised of Dead & Company’s Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti, alongside guest appearances from Margo Price, Tom Hamilton (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead), Jay Lane (Bob Weir & Wolf Bros) and more.

“We came down here to have fun,” Weir said in a statement. “Unfortunately some of our brothers cannot make it but fun is what we’re going to have.”

Dead & Company’s announcement also teased that “in these unprecedented times fans should expect many rare and different tunes.”

No announcement has yet been made about whether Mayer or Kreutzmann will join Dead & Company for Playing In The Sand’s second weekend Jan. 13-16.

The 2022 edition of Playing In The Sand, which took a pandemic-related hiatus in 2021, promptly sold out upon its April onsale, prompting the band to add a second weekend, the first time it expanded to two weekends since launching in January 2018.

Playing In The Sand’s 2020 iteration was its most lucrative to date, grossing $18.7 million.

Following the live industry’s pandemic-related pause, Dead & Company roared back in 2021, ranking No. 5 on Pollstar‘s worldwide touring chart for the year with $50.2 million grossed. The band’s highest-grossing stop of its summer and fall touring was a two-night September stand at Chicago’s Wrigley Field that grossed $7.4 million.

Weir and Mayer both have plans to hit the road outside of Dead & Company beginning in February. Weir will play theaters and performing arts centers in February and March with his Wolf Bros ensemble, while Mayer will embark on an arena tour in support of his 2021 solo album, Sob Rock, from February to April.