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Safety and Shows: Live Events in the New Normal

After a year of isolation and social distancing we all yearn to leave our own four walls, go out, connect with people, and enjoy the electricity and thrill that only a live concert can bring.

Even with the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine we are still a ways from going back to normal. Concert venues have started selling tickets for some socially distanced concerts, but how are music lovers getting their live music fix until we are all ready to, well, rock and roll again?

If you, like us, miss the vibes in your favorite venue, read on to find out what alternatives you have.

Virtual concerts

An intimate gig by your favorite indie band over Zoom straight from their living room? A massive stadium concert by an international superstar on YouTube, beamed straight to your home?

Virtual concerts have become a huge part of the New Normal, but how did they become a part of our new musical routine?

The trend for virtual concerts actually started back in 2019, when Coldplay’s Chris Martin, once named “Sexiest Vegetarian”, decided to skip touring for environmental reasons and rely on live streams to promote their new album “Everyday Life”. Once the pandemic started and our lives were shut down, Coldplay launched the aptly named “Together At Home” live streaming series to support both music lovers and our health care workers during those difficult times.

Other artists soon followed, first using more intimate spaces to stream from, then migrating back On Stage for stadium performances like the record-breaking performances of K-Pop sensation BTS or the Live Stream from cult festival Glastonbury in the UK.

Is this format accessible? Yes. Safe? Yes? But a long, long shot away from delivering the true experience that music lovers crave.

Drive-In Concerts

We know drive-in movie theaters, but drive-in concerts? If your idea of a successful concert is sharing your love for music with a sweaty crowd of strangers, a drive-in concert might not be for you.

Nevertheless, this format seems to be one of the more successful ones as it gives both the audience and the performers a taste of what it used to be but socially distanced. Events like the Concert in Your Car series or Live Nation’s Live From The Drive-In have attracted thousands of music lovers and given them the chance to see their favorite artist live from the safety of their vehicle.

Sectioned-off audience

The US state of Arkansas staged America’s first socially distanced concert with a show by Bishop Gunn.Attendees sat in “fan pods” located six feet apart from each other, and the venue’s 1,100-person capacity was reduced to 229 seats.

Not exactly what we are used to in a live event, but we think it’s one of the better options to still be able to enjoy the unique atmosphere that only live music can bring.

Bubble concerts

One of the more original ways to enjoy the thrill of a live event is from inside your very own bubble. “Space bubble” concerts, a concept invented by rock band The Flaming Lips, place both the audience and the artists in their own human-sized, inflatable ball, equipped with a speaker, a water bottle, a battery-operated fan, a towel and a “I gotta go pee/hot in here” sign.

We will (still) rock you: “normal” after the “new normal”

With the wide-spread availability of the vaccine, things seem to be looking up. At long last, we can hope to be able to indulge in our shared passion for live music in a more “normal” way. Although, what will normal after the “new normal” look like? Will venues require the controversial vaccine passport? Take temperature checks? Require masks although some local governments state that there is no need? Keep on selling at reduced capacity?

It is too early to say what live music events will look like after the pandemic. But one thing is sure: whatever format they will take, they will keep on igniting our passion and energy and zest for life that only a shared experience like this can bring. With the lockdown the music industry has suffered greatly due to the loss of revenue from live concerts and touring but it is clear that the passion and dedication that reigns in the world of music has found a way to fight back. Which of these formats do you think would be worth paying a ticket for?

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