The Return of Concerts and Festivals

By Ashley St John

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

As we pass a full year of COVID-19 controlling our lives, we’re finally starting to see the country and the rest of the world go back to normal. In some places, such as New Zealand and Australia, they’re almost completely back to normal, walking around their communities without masks and even holding music festivals. 

Many people on Twitter have spoken out about the differences between New Zealand, Australia and America. 

Vaccines are also becoming more accessible, which is allowing more events and activities to take place. While masks don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, many states are lifting some of their restrictions. There are only 26 states that currently have a public mask mandate, while the remaining 24 states only “strongly encourage” people to wear masks when they’re out in public. 

Many people are hopeful and optimistic that concerts and music festivals will return as soon as this summer and fall. One festival, in particular, is the Tortuga Country Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In past years, the festival was held for three days during the beginning of April, but this year it’s been pushed to Nov. 12 – 14. The dates have been pushed back due to COVID-19, but aside from that, it’s in full works to go on as normal. Many other venues such as the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) and Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, New York, also have many shows scheduled for the late summer and fall. SPAC rescheduled many of their shows from last year; Dave Matthews Band on July 9 & 10 and The Backstreet Boys on July 24 are just a couple. 

“I really hope concerts do start to come back,” said Keely Murphy, an avid concert-goer. “Concerts are some of my favorite things to go to, and it’s been really upsetting not being able to go to any in the past year.”

Murphy, 20, attends many of the SPAC concerts every summer. For her, going out to concerts is second nature, so this has been a pretty big change for her. 

Many other people feel this way as well. For a lot of people, going to concerts can be an escape from their lives, even just for a few hours. Personally, going to concerts was one of my favorite things about the summertime in particular because I would go to the shows at SPAC at least three times a summer. Going to concerts is like entering a completely different world where I don’t have to worry about anything but the artist or band playing. 

“I honestly wouldn’t mind if I had to wear a mask to a concert,” Murphy said. “It might be a little annoying, but I would do anything to go to a concert again.” 

Murphy said that even with any kinds of restrictions they put in place; masks, social distancing, etc., she wouldn’t care. Masks have been a state mandate for New York for the past year, so many people are already used to wearing them everywhere. 

Even with the concerts coming back, there will undoubtedly still be certain restrictions. According to “COVID-19 Concert Cancellation Tracker: Gauging How Long The Event Shutdown Will Last [Updates]” on LiveForLiveMusic, “Even the summer months look relatively promising, but only if you factor in social distancing. Due to that fact, we’re starting to see more short-term postponements, hybrid limited-capacity/full-capacity schedule announcements, and even some socially distant replacement shows on dates pushed to 2022.” 

Many artists and venues are planning these events with high hopes that they’ll follow through but there is still the possibility that they’ll have to be postponed until next year. Concerts from last year were already postponed until this year or next, so hopefully those concerts will be able to go on this time around, along with the newly scheduled events. Concerts can be very impactful for many people and it would be a shame to see us go another whole year without them. 

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