LOS ANGELES - Garth Brooks this week said he’s canceling the remaining five stops on his stadium tour due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the United States.
"In July, I sincerely thought the pandemic was falling behind us. Now, watching this new wave, I realize we are still in the fight and I must do my part," the country music superstar said in a statement.
Brooks, one of the biggest selling entertainers in music, restarted touring in July. He had been scheduled to perform in Cincinnati (Sept. 18), Charlotte (Sept. 25), Baltimore (Oct. 2), Foxborough (Oct. 9) and Nashville, which had not yet been rescheduled after a cancelation due to rain. All have been canceled and will be rescheduled in 2022, the statement said.
Approximately 350,000 tickets for the five shows will be automatically refunded by Ticketmaster.
Brooks added that the cancelation of the shows was made with a "heavy heart," but he is hopeful "to start over when this wave seems to be behind us." A spokesperson for the tour said the team will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and watch how schools, sports and other entertainment venues handle this next stage of the pandemic.
Brooks regularly performs in front of 60,000-70,000 people per stadium, and many of his shows sell out well in advance.
"The joy I have seen in everyone's faces as live music returns has been more than worth our constant diligence to maintain safety protocols not only for the fans, but for our band, the crew and the hard-working staff in these stadiums," Brooks added. "Their dedication to safety for the people who fill those seats has been a miracle to watch and a blessing to receive. I am truly grateful."
The highly contagious delta variant has fueled a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and record hospitalizations nationwide, which has caused much of the music industry to adjust amid an effort to resume concerts, festivals and other events.
Live entertainment companies AEG Presents and Live Nation have announced COVID-19 vaccine requirements for artists and fans.
K-pop band BTS also announced this week that it has canceled its upcoming world tour, while Nine Inch Nails similarly did so for the remainder of its 2021 shows.
"When originally planned, these shows were intended to be a cathartic and celebratory return to live music," the band said in a post on Instagram. "However, with each passing day it's becoming more apparent we're not at that place yet."
This story was reported from Cincinnati.