Michael Bublé cancels Austin concert after venue unable to expand COVID-19 protocols

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ticket refunds are now available for fans after singer Michael Bublé canceled his upcoming show in Austin, citing the venue’s unmet requests for more COVID-19 safety protocols.

The concert was scheduled for Sept. 20 at the Frank Erwin Center. However, Bublé posted a message on social media Monday, which stated he would not perform after all because of concerns for his fans’ health.

“I am not a political person,” Bublé wrote. “My commitment to complete my tour after all the postponements was agreed to under the terms that it would not put a single person in danger. Protocols were and continue to be in place for all my upcoming shows to ensure nobody will be put in harms way.”

He continued, “Though we tried, I was sadly unable to facilitate this for my Austin show. There was no other choice but to cancel. My conscience and my heart wouldn’t allow it.”

“I’m so upset!” said Samantha Sanchez, an Austinite who had tickets to the show.

She’s gone to about 15 of Bublé’s shows since 2007 and has gotten his autograph, one of his hats and a video of him holding her hand at one of his concerts.

“He’s keeping music alive that I grew up with,” she said. “And he’s just, he’s so into his fans. Like he’ll sit and have a conversation in the middle of his concert.”

His publicist told KXAN News they wanted attendees to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event.

She says Austin was part of 13 rescheduled shows for the artist’s tour, and every other venue has met the team’s requests.

The Frank Erwin Center released a response about the Bublé concert cancelation, sharing customers will receive a full refund automatically within 30 days. However, people with questions about refunds can send an email to ticketoffice@erwin.utexas.edu.

“Though The University of Texas is confident in the health and safety protocols and procedures that are in place for large scale events, we are not in a position to expand on those as Michael Bublé requested,” the venue’s statement read. “Therefore, the artist has decided to cancel his Austin date.”

Under the governor’s orders, any facility that receives government funding cannot require customers to provide vaccination proof.

KXAN reached out to UT Austin to ask if it denied Bublé’s request over concerns about what it would mean in the face of those orders. We have yet to hear back.

This is believed to be the first major event cancelation specifically because of COVID-19 concerns at the Frank Erwin Center. The arena laid out online what safety guidelines it’s following, which includes recommending — not requiring — face masks for people who attend events there. Musician Eric Clapton is set to perform at the venue Wednesday night with special guest Jimmie Vaughn.

Last month, Vaughn was photographed meeting with Gov. Greg Abbott on the same day the governor tested positive for COVID-19.

Sanchez says she’s already looking forward to her next concert, adding she’ll always get tickets to see Bublé.

“I mean, if he wants to come down and give me a personal concert — I’m okay with that. I’ll social distance all he wants,” she laughed.

Recently, other well-known musicians canceled their upcoming Austin performances because of coronavirus concerns. Both Stevie Nicks and Tanya Tucker said they would not sing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October.

“This is just kind of what we’re dealing with and a sign of the times,” said Zach Anderson, president of TicketCity, an Austin ticket seller.

He says they’re issuing their refunds this week but are glad they haven’t seen more event cancelations like they did last year.

“It’s certainly not nothing, but relative to what it could be, or relative to what it was in 2020, the impact on this fall has been small,” Anderson said.

The City of Austin has yet to approve the special event permit for ACL Fest. At the end of August, Austin updated its requirements for event permits on city property, saying large events must now require a negative COVID-19 test from every attendee, regardless of vaccination status. The festival previously said patrons who were fully vaccinated could show proof of vaccination in lieu of a negative COVID-19 test. That may need to change now.

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