The Weeknd’s Stadium Tour Date Postponed Due to Phone Network Outage

The opening date of the Weeknd’s “After Hours Til Dawn” stadium tour has been postponed due to a nationwide outage of the Rogers Wireless company, one of Canada’s biggest phone networks, which wreaked havoc on the country for all of Friday.

The fact that the tour was to open at the Rogers Center (formerly the Skydome), the largest venue in the Weeknd’s hometown of Toronto, was a painfully ironic twist. It is a cashless venue and all ticketing, food, beverage and merch sales are tied to the wireless network.

In a message to fans posted on his Instagram story, the Weeknd wrote, “I’m crushed & heartbroken. Been at the venue all day but it’s out of our hands because of the Rogers outrage. Operations and safety are compromised and I tried my absolute best. This one hurts the most, and we will make thjs show happen, but unfortunately not tonight. I know how long you’ve been waiting and how hard a lot of you worked to make it to the show and experience this special moment with me. I can’t wait to see you all.”

A statement from tour promoter Live Nation reads: “The Weeknd was onsite and ready to play but due to the nationwide Rogers network outage the show planned for this evening at Rogers Center will be postponed as the venue’s operations & infrastructure are not possible until full service is back Please hold on to your ticket. Updates on a new date coming soon.”

The outage, which began at around 4:30 am ET, illuminated just how much modern society has come to rely on cellular coverage: Throughout the country, government and banking systems, parking and countless other businesses were incapable of processing transactions. Restaurants were forced to serve on a cash-only basis. Cafes and any business offering free wifi were packed.

Sources tell Variety that the lateness of the announcement, which came at the time doors were scheduled to open and fans had been waiting outside for hours, was due to the Weeknd’s team was trying to find a way to perform the show up until the last possible minute.

On Friday afternoon, Rogers did not have an estimate for when the outage would be fixed, according to Kye Prigg, Rogers’ senior vice-president of access networks and operations, on CBC’s “Power & Politics.”

“I wouldn’t like to say whether it’s going to be fully online today or not, but we are working very, very hard on making sure that we get everything running as soon as possible,” he said. “We’re getting very close to understanding the root cause of the of the failure. And we’re taking actions along with our network vendors to recover the situation.

“We don’t understand how the different levels of redundancy that we build across the network coast to coast have not have not worked,” he added.

While anyone not in Canada might think the postponement was an overreaction, the outage, which began at around 4:30 am ET and affected the entire country, illuminated just how much modern society has come to rely on cellular coverage: Throughout the country, government and banking systems, parking and countless other businesses were incapable of processing electronic transactions. Restaurants were forced to serve on a cash-only basis; cafes and any business offering free wifi were packed. The level of disruption is genuinely alarming and is a sobering reminder of what would take place in the event of a cyberattack.

In fact, just a month before the outage, Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the country’s government was on “high alert” for cyberattacks by Russia and others in the wake of the increasingly hostile international relations caused by the war in Ukraine.

“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that, in the current geopolitical environment in which we find ourselves, that we are very much on high alert for potential attacks from hostile state actors like Russia,” Mendicino said during an appearance at the country’s House of Commons public safety committee. He described those attacks as possibly coming in the form of cyberattacks and ransomware “which look to identify potentially valuable targets to Canadian interests like critical infrastructure but equally, to sub-national targets, different orders of government, different sectors to the economy.”

As the Weeknd notes in his message, the venue — which, ironically, is sponsored by and named after Rogers, the wireless company suffering the outage — is so thoroughly wired that it would have been unsafe to hold the show under these conditions. The Rogers Center — formerly called the Skydome — is a cashless venue and all transactions rely on wifi, except for fans who saved their tickets to Apple Wallet or other non-wifi-reliant apps.

Just a month before the concert, Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the country’s government was on “high alert” for cyberattacks by Russia and others in the wake of the increasingly hostile international relations caused by the war in Ukraine.

“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that, in the current geopolitical environment in which we find ourselves, that we are very much on high alert for potential attacks from hostile state actors like Russia,” Mendicino said during an appearance at the country’s House of Commons public safety committee.

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