Luke Visser WestChester Discusses Live Music and COVID-19: Will it Ever Return?
The sound of a crowd, the depth of the bass, the sheer experience of live music is something that cannot be replicated. It’s a communal, tribal, instinctual moment that is deeply personal, and, unfortunately, may never be the same. The Coronavirus Pandemic has shuttered countless venues and stages, and until a vaccine is readily and widely available it’s unlikely that these will begin to open anytime soon.
But music and live-performance are formidably resilient arts, with communities to match. The innovation that many have displayed in adapting to the new requirements should be lauded. Some have taken to rooftop concerts for the masses below - which might call forth the classic image of the Beatles’ rooftop concert back in ‘69. For members of the gig economy, there is only one choice - adapt or change their career.
But for the venues themselves, some believe that the only option is increased testing. For indoor venues, controlling the spread of the disease is incredibly difficult. Venue-owners are not only providing an enclosed space for people to gather, but they are also responsible - on some level - for visitor safety. This is difficult to navigate as it’s difficult to ensure masks are worn while also offering beverages and food - which is a non-inconsequential facet of venue revenue.
The future of live music is incredibly difficult to foresee at this point, but looking to other countries there is still hope for a return to normalcy. Across Asia, where countries took the most severe and effective restrictions, concerts have begun to resume in full swing. These countries continue to have very effective regulations in place that have allowed them to handle outbreaks and quickly respond. This is encouraging to see, even though it’s not easy to draw parallels between responses or populations. But there certainly is a future for live music, it’s the present that is most concerning.
Originally published to Medium