Covid-era concerts: both adaptive and largely unchanged

Photo courtesy of Hanny Naibaho, Unsplash.

I’m sure we're all curious about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect post-lockdown life. It will most likely never be the same, but what does this mean for events like concerts? These occasions are definitely high in risk, but they are finally back with modifications to the traditional concert experience. 

There are some venues that won't let you in without proof of vaccination and attendees are encouraged to wear their masks at all times, while others have their guests get rapid tested for Covid the same day as the event and provide proof upon entry. 

In early September, I got the opportunity to go to a last-minute concert in New York City. Troye Sivan was performing at a venue I know well, Terminal 5. Eager to finally go to a show after almost two years, I got my tickets. It was necessary for my guest and I to provide things like proof of vaccination status and age online prior to the concert. The show organizers were very strict about our identification cards. It was also mandatory to get a rapid Covid test the morning of. 

We got to the venue just before the show started. After getting settled into the back of the crowd, I pulled my mask down so that my guest would be able to hear me over the loud pre-show music. Immediately a show organizer came up to us and asked me to put my mask back on.  

I wasn’t opposed to it. In fact, I was thankful they were taking these precautions.

I wasn’t expecting such thorough protocols considering all the virus prevention hurdles we had to jump over just to attend the show, and I wasn't the only one. Upon looking around, I realized that most eager concert-goers were wearing the same reusable mask with neon green details that was being sold at the merch stand. 

The audience wasn't the only impatient party. When Sivan finally got onstage he said that this was his first show in almost two years and that this was the first time he was playing a lot of the songs in his set live. He expressed how excited he was to finally perform them. 

This past week, I went to a Harry Styles concert at Madison Square Garden. This was a show I had tickets for before the Covid lockdown. This concert had been rescheduled at least three times and I am grateful that I finally got to go. 

The Covid protocols were not strict at MSG. At the door, before entry, a staff member would ask to see your vaccination card and proof of identification. That and the metal detectors were our largest barricades. There were a lot of people wearing masks despite it never being enforced.

While we were settling into our seats, a pre-recorded message from Harry Styles played throughout the venue. He acknowledged that times were different now. He said that he “wanted to thank [us] for getting vaccinated and tested” to attend the concert. He also asked us to keep our masks on while in the building and during the show. 

Even with the few cautions and restrictions enforced by the venues, these shows still resembled a lot of pre-Covid concerts with their tightly packed mosh pits and fun visual effects. Guests may be masked up, but we were finally able to experience the thrills of concerts we all have missed. 

I'm sure everyone is eager to enjoy the nightlife again after being required to stay home for so long, but things are definitely going to be different now as long as Covid is still being spread. Attending things like concerts will definitely have a few more steps involved, but taking those extra precautions are worth it.