As the vaccines are beginning to roll out and hope for the future increases, one might wonder: when exactly can we go out and enjoy some live music? Well, entertainment executives seem confident that the idea of music festivals seem much more plausible in the next year as major music festivals are releasing their dates for the 2021 music festival season.
The Governors Ball Music Festival is a three-day music festival held on Randalls Island headlined by popular hip hop, pop, indie, and electronic groups. Last spring was supposed to be GovBall’s 10th Anniversary headlined by Miley Cyrus, Tame Impala, Stevie Nicks, Vampire Weekend, and many more. Recently, GovBall released their dates for 2021 with a soon-to-be-announced new lineup and an additional option for customers to transfer their unused ticket funds from 2020. GovBall chose a late fall date of September 24-26 and they feel confident in their decision. According to a statement on their website, “Given that vaccines are rolling out and many experts predict a return to live music events in the Fall, we are hopeful.” And Governer’s Ball isn’t the only music festival that is hoping for Fall 2021.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, an annual festival traditionally held during the springtime in New Orleans, Louisiana was just rescheduled to October 8 through October 17 for 2021. Also, The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival held in Indio California originally released dates for April 9-18th 2021, but it is likely those dates are moving to the first week in October, according to sources that were interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine.
So the question is: why does Fall 2021 look so promising? On January 9th, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals held a conference with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci believes that it is all coming down to the vaccination rollout, and he is optimistic that with 70 to 85% of Americans vaccinated, achieving herd immunity would allow for “people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience.” But that doesn’t exactly mean it will be back to normal. Masks will likely still be mandatory and many safety measures will be in-place like social distancing and adequate ventilation and air filtration for indoor performances.
But was Fauci jumping the gun? With the new UK variant of Covid-19 that spreads more easily between people and the poorly executed vaccination rollout due to lack of federal guidance from the Trump Administration, it is becoming debatable if the Fall is looking bright.
Zachary Taub, a Junior said “I don’t think we will be there just because of the mass uncertainty towards the actual vaccine. Additionally, the vaccine will only really work if there is herd immunity, which needs time to develop. Another Junior, Siena Piacente agrees that “We won’t see concerts return until late 2021 or early 2022.” Picante believes that “these concerts and festivals would be the last thing to open up just because it is such a large gathering of people from all over.” Although a respected Fauci holds a hopeful belief, it is evident that many are uncertain and do not exactly agree with him.
But even once the venues open, are people going to feel comfortable attending festivals with large crowds. Keep in mind, by the time venues open, it will have almost been two years since the world first shut down in March 2020. Piacente says “If it’s 100% safe and things are 100% normal then I’d probably be okay, but still a little hesitant just because of everything that did happen in the past. But, assuming the vaccines are out and people have been vaccinated, I think I’d be okay.” Taub similarly replied, “For me, I would be comfortable as long as I got the vaccine. I’d feel comfortable for myself because of my age, but, to others, I could easily spread the virus, so I would be nervous and hesitant for that reason.”
It is clear that once these festivals and concerts start back up again it will not be an immediate return to normalcy. Yet, the fact that festivals are even being discussed and dates are being released gives people a great sense of hope and excitement.
towards 2021. “The atmosphere that these festivals and concerts create is honestly indescribable with words,” said Zachary Taub. “There is a connection between everyone [at these musical festivals and concerts] because you all listen to the same music and the same artist.”