Pete Townshend Worries Post-Pandemic Touring Business Might End The Who

The Who had little interest in retirement prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but guitarist Pete Townshend says that under one possible scenario for post-pandemic touring, the band might not have much of a choice.

Townshend explained in a recent conversation with Rolling Stone that many artists of The Who's generation might be out of luck when touring gets back into full swing because the field will be far too crowded with younger acts that sell tickets more quickly.

Touring companies and live venues lost so much money last year that they can't settle for anything less than as much guaranteed revenue as quickly as possible. There's reason to believe that even a legendary band like The Who will be left out, through no fault of their own.

"Everything is in the air, and nobody knows what's going to happen," Townshend said, before noting that live event companies might have close to double the number of acts on the road next year in an effort to recoup their losses.

"The other interesting thing is that younger people are buying tickets and selling out concerts by younger artists," he said. "But our demographic, which is between 30 and 70, I suppose, are not buying tickets at all. … It’s sort of devastating, the idea that older people, because of their conservatism and life experience, will wait until a tour is 100 percent certain.”

If that is indeed the case, and promoters give favor to artists who can sell out a concert at an early stage, classic bands with older demographics might be left out for the time being.

"The finances of it are worrying," he added.

But if there is an opportunity for The Who to get back on the road, Townshend says he'll take it.

Photo: Getty Images

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