As we continue to adjust to life with COVID-19, more and more of the pastimes that we used to enjoy are returning to light. First, it was live sports. Now, we are seeing a new wave of COVID-19-adaptable music festivals lined up for summer and fall of 2021.
As festivals like Ubbi Dubbi are planning for return, there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not it is time for live music to return. While many artists and fans are eager to get back out on the stage/lawn, there is valid hesitation.
Opponents of the festivals argue in good faith of caution. While vaccination rates across the world are steadily increasing, we still have yet to overcome the pandemic. Like with any disease, there are still COVID-19 variants infecting the population. In addition, less than a quarter of the U.S. population is actually vaccinated.
On the flipside, those that have managed to pull off COVID-friendly festivals show an alternative. With socially distanced bubbles/seating, rigorous testing protocols, isolation fallbacks and more, individuals are pointing to new ways to adapt outdoor music safely. We’ve already begun to see it in action, and the results seem to point to net success.
Where do I stand with all of this?
Well, I really want to see live music take center stage in our summers once again. I’d love to see that same electricity we once saw during Beyonce’s Homecoming performance at Coachella 2018. Especially after a long, difficult year as such, it feels necessary.
However, I feel like this hype may be coming a bit prematurely.
A vast majority of the world has yet to be fully vaccinated. On top of that, we still have many moving pieces—variants and additional waves—to still be concerned about. Just last week, Washington health officials and Governor Inslee expressed concern over the evidence of an oncoming fourth wave of COVID-19 in the state. Yes, the light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter, but does that mean we have reached the other side?
Unfortunately, I don’t think it does.
When it comes to live music in 2021, festivals should be held with as much precaution as possible, but I really don’t think we should be having them at all. Coachella did a very smart thing by postponing their original October 2021 festival to April of 2022. Who knows what other twists and turns we might face in the oncoming months.
I miss live music so much, but this is another nicety that we can fiercely enjoy once things have reached a state of grace—globally, for that matter. It may take a little longer, but the reward will feel much more earned if we don’t rush into normality prematurely.
For now, the verdict of this court is: perhaps we should hold off for now.