Music is something that has always been a big part of my life. I played the piano and clarinet growing up, sang in the church and school choirs, and had an extensive collection of tapes and CDs, and now digital music. As nice as it is to listen to studio albums when the mood strikes, there is something about live music that is so good for the soul. I had several concerts and festivals lined up to attend in 2020, but as we all know, the entertainment industry, as with most others, came to a screeching halt. So I was thrilled when tours started up again this summer. I was fully vaccinated and ready to enjoy the sounds, sights, and camaraderie that comes with attending live shows.
This month, I attended my first concert in well over a year-and-a-half. As amazing as it was, I didn’t fully feel comfortable. I masked up even though it was an open-air venue, but in 80-degree weather with 15,000+ other people, I felt leery. Having a friend in the band, I was able to see first-hand how restrictive this tour has been compared to past ones. Said friend flew in two days before the show to stay and perform a private set in my living room. Due to band protocols, we were limited to 8 people total, all of whom had to be fully vaccinated and take daily Covid tests during his stay, and we could not associate with people outside of our bubble. While that may seem overkill to some, the protocols were put in place by an on-tour Covid advisor, and are definitely necessary to avoid a major disaster of a cancelled tour. If that were the outcome, it would mean refunding dozens of shows with anywhere from 10,000 – 35,000 tickets sold per show, 127 crew members out of work, and millions of dollars in lost revenue.
With the Delta variant now surging, many tours and festivals are once again cancelled or postponed. Those that are moving forward are seeing tighter protocols than even a couple weeks ago. Some venues are now requiring proof of vaccination and/or a negative Covid test within 72 hours of the show. As our northern border closes again, any stops planned in Canada have to be rescheduled. Even shows scheduled for indoor arenas are already being cancelled.
I appreciate the safety protocols that acts and venues have put in place to keep attendees safe, but we’re far from returning to “normal.” The entertainment industry will be touch-and-go for the foreseeable future. So, for now, Apple Music will have to hold me over until I can get back into the crowd and fully appreciate a live show!