Garth Brooks Cancels Five Stadium Shows Due to COVID Delta Variant: 'We Are Still in the Fight'
Garth Brooks fans in several cities will have to wait to see the country star perform.
On Wednesday, Brooks, 59, announced that he would cancel shows in Foxborough, Charlotte, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Nashville as he cited concerns with the COVID pandemic and the spreading delta variant.
"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," Brooks said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
"I have asked the wonderful cities of Cincinnati and Charlotte to wait too long and I don't want to now do that same thing to the great folks in Boston and Baltimore. As far as Nashville, we are looking for a make-up date from the July rain out and though this is not COVID related, to make them wait makes me sad, as well. So, it is with a heavy heart we announce the decision to cancel all five shows but with a hopeful heart, we will reschedule and start over when this wave seems to be behind us."
He continued, "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. 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."
Brooks adds, "I'm sincerely hoping we are back on tour before the year's end. With that said, the most important thing to me is fulfilling my end of the Stadium Tour by making sure every show is doable before putting tickets on sale (that is why we pulled the Seattle on sale) and making sure the environment these people are trading their time and money to put themselves into is not only the best experience ever, but also the safest one we can provide."
Brooks was set to perform at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Sept. 18, with four more performances until Oct. 9 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Earlier this month, Brooks had to cancel his show at Nashville's Nissan Stadium the night of due to a heavy lightning and rain storm.
"Every day, the reports we get change because it's the first time anyone has been through it," Brooks said at the time. "What I'd love to see all of us do is have the patience to read those changes instead of jump on them and use them for our argument. We should see where this thing's going."
"You have to divide the enemy to defeat them, and this virus has us divided," he added. "My thing is just patience. You have to listen and be over-the-top careful. Hopefully, you'll never regret that."
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Brooks and his team are fully vaccinated, and he has internal guidelines to keep his band and crew safe from the virus. He follows the rules set by the state in which he plays for audience protocols. The singer often plays a video before his concerts asking people to be respectful of those wearing masks — and those who aren't.
"My wish is … we do everything safe so [fans] can enjoy [the show] and not sit in the stands and be scared," he said. "We're all coming down from this at our own speed. I hope people can come [to a concert] and let it all go."
Since late July, Brooks has performed in Las Vegas, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Wyoming and Lincoln, Nebraska.
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