The Daily Valet. - 6/13/24, Thursday

Thursday, June 13th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Do you plan on seeing any concerts this summer?

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Today’s Big Story

Want to Go to a Concert?


A lot of big summer tours are selling poorly


It’s something of an American summer ritual, going to a big concert. And for the past few years, live music has enjoyed an explosive post-pandemic revival, as “revenge spending” fans itching to get back into concert venues post-pandemic paid top dollar for massive stadium tours such as Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour and Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour. But a recent spate of cancellations and changes by well-known artists indicate that consumers’ appetite for live music may be slowing.

Live Nation just announced that Jennifer Lopez was canceling her “This Is Me…Live” tour to spend more time with her family. That was just a week after the Black Keys said they were scrapping an arena tour scheduled for this fall in favor of smaller venues, even after the single from their new album topped Billboard’s Alternative Airplay chart in March.

And they’re not the only ones. Stereogum reports that fans have shared screenshots of wildly undersold sections for dates on Charli XCX’s joint fall tour with Troye Sivan, though a rep for Charli says multiple dates have sold out and sales are at 70% across the board. Porter Robinson’s “5-continent world tour” is faring even worse, with dates in cities like Orlando displaying pretty much entire sections of available inventory.

But how did this happen? How is this kind of large-scale misjudgment possible with so much data available? Experts say… well, it’s complicated. Live Nation Entertainment told Stereogum, “Overall market data shows demand is strong—sales are up from last year with over 100 million tickets sold, even with fewer large stadium shows touring in 2024. But, some events naturally fall off for various reasons, and in 2024 across all venue types we’ve seen a 4% cancellation rate—which is flat to last year.”

However Fortune says it’s the most recent signs that at least one facet of the “funflation” economy that emerged in the wake of the pandemic—when consumers eager to make up for lost experiences boosted demand for things like flights and concert tickets—isn’t as strong as it was last year. And at a time when many consumers are struggling to pay for basic necessities, Dave Clark, editor of Ticket News, says “people are seeing some of the prices they’re asking and just saying, ‘Hard pass.’”

Concert Preview:
Vulture breaks down all the best shows playing around the country this summer.

Western Leaders Gather for G7


The summit opens with deal to use Russian assets for Ukraine

A Group of Seven summit is opening today with agreement on a U.S. proposal to back a $50 billion loan to Ukraine using frozen Russian assets as collateral, giving Kyiv a strong show of support even as Europe’s political chessboard shifts to the right. Diplomats confirmed that an agreement had been reached on the deal before the leaders even landed in southern Italy for the three-day summit.

According to the BBC, the agenda also includes discussions on the war in Gaza, migration, economic security and (of course) artificial intelligence. The summit comes as a number of leaders—everyone from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and France’s Emmanuel Macron to President Joe Biden—face electoral challenges back home.

Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky plan to sign a 10-year security agreement later today that will commit Washington to supply Kyiv with a wide range of military assistance, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said, in a bid to bolster Ukraine’s fight with Russia. But, the Washington Post reports, unlike NATO, it doesn’t require a U.S. military response if Ukraine is attacked. Beyond the Ukraine war, Pope Francis will become the first pope to address a G7 summit, adding a dash of celebrity and moral authority to the annual gathering.

Dig Deeper:
NPR examines how two unexpected wars are defining Biden's presidency.


Zero-Proof But Still Potent

Want something refreshing, tasty and reliably dosed with legal THC? We’ve got a drink for you.

The Slow 988 Rollout


What we’ve learned from crisis lifeline, two years in

Do you remember when the U.S. launched 988, the simplified number to access the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline? It was the summer of 2022. The program offers 24/7 free and confidential counseling services and mental health resources—operated by a network of about 200 local, independent crisis centers—by dialing 988 through phone, text or chat. But its promise of a quicker, more seamless crisis response across the country is still a work in progress.

Congress gave states $1 billion to build out the 988 hotline, amid nationwide concern over worsening mental health, with the expectation that states would establish their own own long-term funding to operate call centers and crisis services. But, Axios reports, those efforts have been uneven, contributing to significantly lower response times in certain states. As with much of the health care system, the level of crisis services available to people depends greatly on where they live.

But it’s not just a money problem. There’s also the issue of awareness: A survey from Pew Charitable Trusts reveals that only 13% of the public knows about 988’s existence and its purpose. Also, states have to set rules around 988 services and coordinate among agencies and local officials. In Nevada, 64% of 988 calls were answered locally last month, well below the national average of 89%, according to federal data. Response rates in Illinois and Alaska were also below 70%, while they were in the low 70s in Arkansas, Colorado and New Jersey, too. The goal now, it seems, is to integrate 911 and 988 services to encourage more accurate and locally-based responses.

You Can Renew Passports Online (Again)


The State Department reopened its renewal portal just in time for a busy summer of travel

The State Department on Wednesday began testing an updated online passport renewal program, according to a State Department spokesperson. You might recall that the service was tested a while back (I actually renewed my passport online using the program), but it hasn’t been available for more than a year.

The program will begin by accepting a small number of online applications each day, with that limited number gradually ramping up as time goes on to ensure the State Department “can track any issues that arise and address them quickly and continuously improve the experience for the American people.” For now the program is available only for routine renewals, not expedited services.

While the department said in December that processing times for passport applications had returned to pre-pandemic levels, the beta rollout of the online renewal program comes during a busy summer travel season. Applying online does not guarantee a faster processing time, but it does mean skipping some lag time of sending your application by snail mail.

Eligible applicants must be 25 or older, live in the United States or one of its territories and hold a passport issued between 2009 and 2015.


A Booze-Free Buzz


WYNK is a sparkling canna-beverage that offers a bubbly, delicious dose of THC


As the culture shifts towards a more mindful lifestyle, the demand for non-alcoholic beverages is on the rise and one of the most exciting developments in the NA space is canna-beverages. Yeah, we’re talking about cannabis-infused drinks. And one of the best is WYNK, a hemp-derived 1:1 THC:CBD zero-calorie seltzer. Offering a light and bubbly buzz that lasts around 90 minutes and typically begins within 15 minutes of consumption.

Legality is dependent on which state you live in, of course, but WYNK is perfectly legal in 38 states. Winner of the High Times Cannabis Cup People’s Choice Award, the drinks not only offer a buzz that is light and social, but the drinks themselves are tasty and refreshing. Available in Black Cherry Fizz, Lime Twist, Tangerine and Juicy Mango—each is infused with natural flavors without any sugar, they offer a whole lot of pleasure without any of the guilt or hangovers the next day.



What We’re Buying


Shorts on sale


Summertime calls for plenty of comfortable and stylish shorts. You can't have too many, right? So you'll want to make sure you save money in order to get a good variety. The nice thing is right now, you can find plenty of quality pairs for not much money. In fact, we rounded up a few of our favorites, which are all on sale. So grab a pair (or two) before they sell out.

A Great Deal:
Fatigue short, $305 / $168 by Engineered Garments

Morning Motto

Don’t put it off.


Do the hard thing first. The cold water doesn't get warmer if you jump late.




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