Can Concerts Come Back?


Sally Hendrickson

State High sophomore Sally Hendrickson has attended about 15 concerts, but one of her favorites is Billie Eilish at The Met, Philadelphia on June 15th, 2019. Hendrickson was planning on attending a second Eilish concert which was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic.

Quinn Colburn, Staff Writer

Concerts are an instrumental part of the process of becoming a successful artist. They are a way for people to come together over a common interest and enjoy music with the company of others. However, due to the pandemic, the concert business has come to a screeching halt. 

Concert venues typically hold several thousands of people, depending on their size and location. With COVID-19 safety restrictions, this has not been possible. 

International vaccine distribution is a huge propellant of in person concerts, and with it finally under way, much of the live concert industry is looking to late spring and summer of this year for the return of amphitheater events, socially distanced and masked. However, indoor environments for concerts and other events like them are especially unsafe with COVID-19 and most likely will not be in the cards until 2022 at the earliest, meaning that normal touring is a long ways away as well. 

While the concert industry may be hoping for the return of outdoor events, much about the live music season in 2021 is unknown because of vaccine distribution. Even if a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases is seen in time for concerts to be held this year, the inability for venues to open at full capacity is a major problem. A lot of the time, a venue at 80% capacity is not enough for a profitable event, meaning that the capacity limits put in place will be infeasible. 

With so much uncertainty about the future of concerts, some frequent concert-goers prior to the pandemic have shared their concerns and experiences with the prolonged dormancy of concerts. Sophomore at State High, Sally Hendrickson, has attended roughly 15 concerts in her life. Some of her favorite artists live are Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, and Justin Timberlake.  Before the pandemic hit, Hendrickson had been planning on attending some other concerts as well. 

“I had 4 concerts that were canceled due to the pandemic,” Hendrickson explained. “I was going to see Harry Styles 2 times, Justin Bieber, and Billie Eilish.” While COVID-19 has prevented Hendrickson and so many others from seeing their favorite artists perform live and in person, Hendrickson explained that she has seen a few safer alternatives. 

“A lot of my favorite artists had online concerts,” Hendrickson said, “you could buy tickets for 20-50 dollars and watch them perform in [a venue] without an in-person audience.” These live streamed performances are popular among artists who have been looking for ways to give back to their fans, especially if their tours or other shows were canceled, or are just looking for ways to perform their music. Hendrickson explained that she does not believe concerts will be able to return to normal for a few years, and when they do, there will be strict guidelines in place that all attendees must follow. While the virtual concerts and other safe alternatives that many artists have provided to their fans are appreciated, Hendrickson still misses the in-person concert experience. 

I think the most exciting thing about concerts is being able to experience your favorite songs live with thousands of other people who enjoy the same things as you. I think that is the main thing I miss most about concerts,” said Hendrickson.  “Something about seeing your favorite artists while being surrounded by the amazing energy that everyone shares during each song is so special.”

Moriah Weaver, another sophomore at State High, has been to roughly 8 concerts, and one of her favorites was also Billie Eilish. Weaver was supposed to go to another Eilish concert, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Weaver believes that the concert scene will still be different once it finally returns to (somewhat) normalcy, and she commented on a few potential changes. 

I think that concerts will be a lot more sanitary and they will have temperature checks before you go in.” Weaver explained. These are just a few potential regulations that don’t even scratch the surface of what other ideas have been circulating, such as rapid turnaround COVID-19 tests at entrances, and even wristbands that vibrate with a lack of social distancing. If concerts return, whenever that may be, social distancing and one way routes to bars and bathrooms will likely be enforced in indoor venues, as well as several other precautions. Until then, virtual concerts will likely become more , which is not just covid-safe, but are also financially sensible and inclusive for people who cannot afford to travel. It is likely that virtual concerts will become a part of the live music industry even after in-person concerts return. 

The live music industry is just one of the aspects of life that has been significantly affected due to the pandemic. So much about the future of concerts is still unknown. Right now, the best thing for everyone to do, not just concert-lovers, is to follow CDC guidelines, especially for events and gatherings as we transition to warmer weather. While concerts may not return to normal for quite some time, hopefully everyone has been reminded somewhat of the concert experience, whether it be with virtual concerts, reminiscing over old videos, or another safe alternative that artists have provided for their fans.