The future of concerts


Isabelle Kitay, Staff Assistant

It is no question that COVID-19 has reshaped the world in many ways.  Everyday activities and jobs have become much more difficult to do and enjoy. The pandemic has hit the concert and music festivals industry especially hard.  There is no safe way to have thousands of people packed into an indoor stadium for the foreseeable future.  This leaves the future of music performances up in the air.

Concerts and festivals are important for both artists and fans alike. Musicians connect with their fans and increase their profits, while fans find new music that they are passionate about.  Additionally, concerts are highly popular social events that create lasting memories.  It is not only a form of entertainment, but a way of bringing people together. 

Many concert and festival organizers have come up with different ideas to restore this ingredient to society, in a safe manner.  Some bands, such as Wallows, have created online concerts. They aired four pre-taped performances recorded at the Roxy in Hollywood.  Online concerts are a great way for bands to make revenue, even if they can’t go on tour for the time being.  Other hit artists, such as Billie Eilish and Sam Smith, have done similar things. 

“As a Wallows fan, I was so excited for their online concert series.  It was a genius way to entertain their fan base and still make income, even during these crazy times.  Nothing can beat a live concert, but this was an amazing placeholder,” said junior Jae Longaro. 

Moreover, the well-known music festival, Rolling Loud, has shifted to an online platform for this year.  Titled “Loud Stream,” their first festival premiered on Twitch (an online streaming platform) from Sept. 12-13.  It featured popular artists, such as Polo G, Lil Skies, and Swae Lee as well as rising artists, such as Hotboii and Maliibu Mitch.  Reporters noted that there were over 4.4 million live views and 25,000 participants in the Twitch chat.  There are two more Loud Streams coming up for fans to watch.  Despite the limitations, Rolling Loud proved its resilience and refused to let down its fans. 

A different approach to entertaining fans was taken by The Chainsmokers.  On July 25, they held an outdoor in-person concert.  Titled “Safe & Sound,” guests paid up to $25,000 for a ticket to this drive in experience in Southampton.  The organizers tried to set a bar for a realistic and in-person virus-cautious concert.  However, there was great controversy over whether they truly did a good job keeping everyone “Safe and Sound.”  The New York State Health Commissioner, Dr. Zucker, saw this night on social media, and was greatly disappointed by the lack of social distancing. 

“It was crazy to see on Instagram how many people got out of their cars and were nearly on top of each other, even without masks,” said junior Sadie Mandel. 

The way The Chainsmokers concert was handled brings disappointing expectations for the future.  Numerous outdoor concerts across the country have been canceled, partly as a result of this.

“I am at a loss as to how the Town of Southampton could have issued a permit for such an event, how they believed it was legal and not an obvious public health threat,” said Dr. Zucker  in a letter the New York Department of Health sent to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

As live music in the time of coronavirus continues to endure the phase of trial and error, it is hard to know what the future holds.  Many artists have moved their tours to fall 2021, when many people hope and expect the pandemic to subside. 

“After buying tickets for a Harry Styles concert in 2021, I am hopeful that it will take place.  I have been looking forward to it for a long time,” said junior Ellie Shapiro. 

It is important that concerts and music festivals stay prominent and have a place in people’s lives, even if they are altered due to the world’s current circumstances.