What to expect from concerts in a post-pandemic world


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After over a year of avoiding large groups, going back to live music is hard to believe and it seems concerts may never be the same.

Emma Forster, Staff Writer

After a long year and a half of concert cancellations and rescheduling, it seems the return of live music is on the horizon. With new CDC guidelines allowing vaccinated citizens to forgo the wearing of masks, even while indoors, indoor concerts and large gatherings are becoming more feasible every day as vaccines continue to roll out to more people across the U.S.
Although live music is returning, it is doing so in a completely new way. Most concerts have and will continue to impose COVID-19 restrictions and in some cases, a vaccination requirement. One of the most anticipated music events in the U.S., Chicago-based music festival Lollapalooza, recently announced its return this summer after cancelling the event in 2020. But the festival is not returning without restrictions.
“To attend Lollapalooza you either will need to be fully vaccinated or you will need to provide a negative test for every day that you are planning to attend,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady in an interview with ABC News.
City Winery in New York City, another popular concert venue, expanded its capacity from 100 audience members to 150 per event, simultaneously imposing similar restrictions to Lollapalooza, requiring either vaccination proof or a negative COVID-19 test to enter the venue.
“We’re very excited about pushing this forward so there’s a psychological comfort of being in a bubble knowing that everyone around you has also gotten vaccinated,” said CEO and chairman of City Winery Michael Dorf in an interview with CNBC.
The public is eager to attend shows once again, with all four-day passes to Lollapalooza selling out in just six hours and tickets to events at any venue, including City Winery, selling out just as quickly.
“Anything that we can put on sale right now is enthusiastically sold out very quickly,” said Dorf.
The return of live music is not exclusive to large cities, however, with even the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center lining up more events in the coming months. Upcoming acts include Toby Keith, Little Big Town and Summer Fest 2021. The PREMIER Center mitigates the spread of COVID-19 with their VenueShield policy, which enforces strict sanitation and requires all venue workers to wear face coverings as well as undergo health screenings before each shift.
From a concert in Oklahoma where each audience member was separated by plastic bubbles to socially distanced seats and vaccination requirements, it is clear that live music has been intensely altered by COVID-19. These restrictions have not stopped the eagerness of fans and artists alike, who are excited to have the atmosphere and joy of live concerts back, no matter how different they may be in a post-pandemic world.