The arrival of several COVID-19 vaccines has created excitement around the world as we all try to return to that warm feeling of normalcy. For musicians, this means a chance to go back out to tour the country and play the music they have been practicing while on lockdown over the last year. However, although there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic is still here, and caution continues to be necessary, so touring will look a bit different than it did before the year 2020.
To heal, we all need to work together. So whether you are a musician or a concert-goer, it is your responsibility to stay safe and show proper etiquette so everyone around you can leave in the same condition they came, regardless of the type of festival you attend. This means continuing to wear masks and shielding, keeping an eye on COVID rates in your area, and keeping your hands to yourself. Let’s look at how you can still enjoy music while staying safe in 2021.
A New Normal
While we are starting to see many concert venues sell tickets again, the shows that we attend will be drastically different as we continue to fight off the COVID-19 pandemic. This means fewer tickets sold, smaller attendance, and potentially higher costs as venues pay to put more safety features in place like dividers and sanitation stations. Some venues may also only sell tickets to those who prove that they have taken a coronavirus vaccine.
Even with new safety measures put in place, many concert venues are putting new fine print on their tickets and websites that basically informs attendees that by coming to the show, they assume all risks and dangers associated with COVID-19. This means that not only are you on your own if you contact the virus while at a show but also that you are solely responsible for keeping yourself safe.
To start off on the right track, musicians and music promoters should take the time to visit the health directories supplied by the CDC to check the number of COVID-19 cases currently in the area of the concert. If the number is high, the concert should probably be postponed for the sake of everyone involved. Also, shorter concerts are better as the CDC also states that being within six feet of someone who has the coronavirus for over 15 minutes greatly increases the chances of infection.
During this time of transition, musicians should be a good example for the people who come to their shows. You are a role model of sorts and if you follow safety guidelines, the audience likely will as well. The band should still wear masks when not singing and keep a distance from one another on the stage. The singer should have a plastic shield in front of them and the microphone so they don’t spit or otherwise spread germs onto the crowd.
As for equipment setup, gone are the days where the band, roadies, and helpers all went onto the stage at the same time. Now, to ensure safety, each band member should go backstage to set up separately. Sharing equipment should be avoided whenever possible so make sure to bring all of the instruments you need to perform the set in full, including your turntables and necessary percussion equipment.
During the concert, if you see audience members getting too close or large crowds developing in one place, make an announcement and verbally point it out. Use this as your platform to remind your fans that safety is still necessary during this transition period. Before you head to the gig, pack a first aid kit that includes the essentials such as bandages and ointments. In addition, you should also bring COVID-19-related items like medication for reducing fevers and coughs and a thermometer so you can check your temperature if you feel ill. If the temp is too high, cancel the gig or have someone fill in.
Audiences are likely even more excited than artists to get out there and enjoy life again with some live music. After all, they have been cooped up as long as anyone else and they want to let loose. Still, caution is necessary for all concert-goers. Follow all guidelines provided by the venue, including wearing your facemask, following distancing guidelines, and avoiding excessive touching. As fun as they may be, this is still not the time for mosh pits.
It is important to remember that everyone is going to feel a little bit differently about COVID-19, and while some may be ready to go all out, others may still have some fear and uncertainty. If you are part of the latter group that is not quite comfortable out with the crowd or you see that some audience members aren’t following proper guidelines, then you will want to take action before you get too worked up or stressed out by the situation. Unwanted signs of stress could include a rapid heartbeat or excessive seating. If you feel this way, step away, take some deep breaths, and remove yourself from the situation if necessary.
As many of us have heard, getting vaccinated is not only for our health but for the wellbeing of those we come in contact with, so if you haven’t had your shots yet, consider doing so before you join a crowd. On a similar note, take your temperature before heading out in public. If you’re running a little hot, consider staying home and catch a show when you are feeling better again.
Anyone who loves music is excited about getting back out there to the concert scene, but caution is still required. If artists and concert-goers do their part to make a smooth transition to normalcy, we will all be able to enjoy life as we know it that much sooner.