The strangest reasons gigs have been cancelled

12 March 2020, 06:00 | Updated: 12 March 2020, 06:01

An empty arena
An empty arena. Picture: Ian Dickson/Redferns/Getty Images

With the threat of Coronavirus cancelling gigs across the world, we look at the other unusual (and sometimes bizarre) times the show didn't go on.

  1. Mountain bikes scupper The Stone Roses

    Stone Roses Performing At The Corn Exchange, Cambridge - 1995
    Stone Roses Performing At The Corn Exchange, Cambridge - 1995. Picture: Brian Rasic/Getty Images

    By 1995 The Stone Roses were in crisis. A series of secret "come-back" shows were booked but cancelled once the press got hold of them. The biggest cancellation, however, was their slot at Glastonbury. However, this wasn't down to feuds, it was because guitarist John Squire had broken his collarbone a week before in the US while mountain-biking. Oh John Squire, will you ever learn?

  2. Kings Of Leon get shat on from a great height

    Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon performs onstage during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2010
    Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon performs onstage during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2010. Picture: Dave Benett/Getty Images

    Kings Of Leon had technically begun their show at St. Louis' Verizon Amphitheatre on 23 July 2010, but after only a few songs, the band discovered they a pretty major avian issue. The venue had a pigeon infestation and the birds began excreting when the rockers began playing. Apparently Jared got some in his mouth. Needless to say despite braving the onslaught, the gig was curtailed, with Nathan Followill tweeting: "You may enjoy being shit on but we don’t. Sorry for all who travelled many miles."

  3. Dave Grohl falls off the stage

    Dave Grohl is seen arriving at his hotel on June 14, 2015 in London,
    Dave Grohl is seen arriving at his hotel on June 14, 2015 in London,. Picture: Niki Nikolova/GC Images/Getty

    In 2015, Foo Fighters had to cancel a string of UK and Europe dates (including slots at Werchter and Glastonbury festivals) after Dave Grohl took a tumble from the stage during a gig in Sweden. Florence And The Machine stepped in at Glastonbury and Dave returned to Worthy Farm two years later.

  4. Foot and mouth threatens the festivals

    The foot and mouth scare
    The foot and mouth scare. Picture: Julio Etchart/ullstein bild via Getty Images

    In 2001, the UK and much of Europe was in the grip of a foot-and-mouth outbreak. The disease affects cattle and while horses aren't affected, they can spread the virus, which meant that the Cheltenham racing festival that year was cancelled. The majority of music events were fine, but Bishopstock folk festival was pushed back from its usual slot in May back to August to avoid the scare - but the event folded shortly afterwards. In Holland, Dynamo festival was cancelled over the issue, meaning fans couldn't see Papa Roach, Motorhead and Slipknot headline. Luckily, Glastonbury was enjoying a "fallow year" and avoided the crisis.

  5. Morrissey catches a cold from the support band (allegedly)

    Morrissey performs on stage at Sant Jordi Club on October 10, 2014 in Barcelona
    Morrissey performs on stage at Sant Jordi Club on October 10, 2014 in Barcelona. Picture: Jordi Vidal/Redferns via Getty Images

    Morrissey’s health has been a concern for the past few years, with many, many shows and tours being postponed or cancelled because the singer was suffering. He’s had a brush with “cancerous tissues” and almost died from food poisoning in South America, but the oddest example was when it was claimed that US dates in 2014 were shelved due to Morrissey catching "a respiratory infection" from support act Kristeen Young. Young denied it, the Morrissey camp were outraged, etc etc.

    Kristeen Young performs on stage at Manchester Arena on July 28, 2012
    Kristeen Young performs on stage at Manchester Arena on July 28, 2012. Picture: Neil H Kitson/Redferns via Getty Images
  6. Macaulay Culkin discovers nobody finds pizza funny

    Macaulay Culkin of The Pizza Underground performs on stage at Riot Fest Chicago 2014
    Macaulay Culkin of The Pizza Underground performs on stage at Riot Fest Chicago 2014. Picture: Daniel Boczarski/Redferns via Getty Images

    Oh, Macaulay. The former Home Alone star and his band The Pizza Underground cancelled the majority of their UK dates and a slot at Primavera Festival in 2014 following the less than ecstatic reaction. They had beer thrown at them by the audience in Nottingham, who didn't take to comedy songs about pizza.

  7. Mötley Crüe have "snow on the roof"

    Mötley Crüe count up how many gigs they had to cancel in 1988
    Mötley Crüe count up how many gigs they had to cancel in 1988. Picture: Bill Marino/Sygma via Getty Images

    In January 1988, Mötley Crüe were due to hit the UK for a series of arena dates off the back of their rabble-rousing hit Girls Girls Girls. However, as their former PR Stuart Bailie recalled, the entire jaunt was cancelled. The official reason was that the various locations the Crüe were due to visit had fallen victim to a particularly fierce British winter and the accumulation of "snow on the roof" made the arenas unsafe.

    This, as the British press quickly guesed, was a cover story. Bassist Nikki Sixx had suffered a heroin overdose on 23 December 1987 and was clinically dead for two minutes, before paramedics brought him round. He wrote a song about it for the band's next album: Kickstart My Heart.

  8. Keith Richards cuts his finger

    In 1990 The Rolling Stones cancelled a show in Cardiff and two shows at Wembley Stadium because Keith Richards, um, hurt his finger. Apparently the lead guitarist cut it on a knife and, after contracting an infection, couldn't play the shows. Although they stated it was an infection, we think it's because plasters are just *so* uncool.

    Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones leaves the Hilton hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 18 May 1990.
    Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones leaves the Hilton hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 18 May 1990. Picture: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images
  9. Pete Doherty is too wild for Wiltshire

    Pete Doherty with Babyshambles: the sort of public disorder that Wiltshire police were anxious to prevent
    Pete Doherty with Babyshambles: the sort of public disorder that Wiltshire police were anxious to prevent. Picture: PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    Now we think almost everyone who was a fan of Babyshambles encountered some kind of cancellation at some point during the band's career. But in 2008, Pete Doherty and co were booked to play Moonfest in Whilshire but had their headline slot withdrawn after local police believed the band would drive fans into a frenzy - which would have been too much for their security to handle.

    Ch Supt Julian Kirby said in court: " We carried out an analysis of what Pete Doherty and his band does. What he does as part of his routine is to gee up the crowd. They speed up and then slow down the music and create a whirlpool effect in the crowd. They all get geed up and then they start fighting."

    The police told the court that they had ten stewards booked for the three-day event, which also featured The Australian Pink Floyd, Ozric Tentacles, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Shakatak and Heaven 17.

  10. R.E.M. drummer's brain explodes (sort of)

    R.E.M. IN 1995: Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe
    R.E.M. IN 1995: Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe. Picture: The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

    During a 1995 show in Switzerland, former R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry suffered a brain haemorrhage. Luckily he was recovered, but the band were forced to cancel the dates that followed and Berry quit the band permanently. As far as excuses go, that's a pretty good one.

  11. Weezer’s bad leg

    Weezer in 1996: Brian Bell, Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson and Mat Sharp.
    Weezer in 1996: Brian Bell, Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson and Mat Sharp. Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

    Back in 1995, the US band had to cancel a number of dates, including a high profile London show, while Rivers Cuomo had one of his legs lengthened. That's right, the singer was born with one leg shorter than the other and had to undergo a nasty op that saw surgeons break his limb and add a brace that stretched it a little at at time.