Wednesday, October 4, 2023

What do music events during a pandemic look like?


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Story by Peyton Tranas | Core Writer

When events began to be re-planned and put on schedules again, the world was under the assumption the pandemic would be significantly better, if not gone. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still here, but entertainment workers have to be able to get back to work.

Venue workers and crew members do not have the luxury that the star-headliners of events do in terms of income. Over the Labor Day weekend, I attended two events, one in Nashville and one in Louisville, Kentucky. The differences, in terms of COVID safety measures, were drastically different.

The Brooklyn Bowl Nashville hosted a “Taylor Swift Club Night” on Saturday, Sept. 4. On the event info page, it reads “By visiting our establishment, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.” The event was wildly successful, with tickets selling out.

While a few people wore masks, no masks were enforced. Neither were vaccines. The only requirement to attend the event was to have a ticket. While no reported cases have been made aware from this event, it was rather risky to host an event at this point with no COVID precautions.

This event was organized by a private company and not Taylor Swift herself, which brings into question if the requirements to enter would be different had Swift been in charge of the event.

However, crew members were able to make money in terms of equipment set up and venue staff were able to get on the payroll again.

In Louisville however, Phoebe Bridgers set a different precedent. On the event info page, it read:

Out of concern for our staff, artists, crew and fans, we will be requiring proof of full vaccination. Physical and digital copies may be shown and must match your ID. Masks will be required for all staff and patrons.”

At the event, masks were strictly enforced, unless you were in the middle of taking a bite of food or sipping your drink. You were not even allowed in the venue unless you were wearing your mask and proved you had been vaccinated.

However, this was not at the venue’s discretion. This was solely at the discretion of Bridgers herself.

In late August, Bridgers announced that her tour would be held in strictly outdoor venues, and vaccines will be required where possible by law.

Bridgers thread of tweets can also be viewed here.

Due to these strict requirements, people are given the peace of mind that they can attend a concert and not be worried if they are going to come home sick.

Between the two events, one seemed drastically safer than the other in my opinion. Many upcoming tours, such as the Harry Styles tour going on now, are requiring masks and/or a COVID vaccine or proof of a negative test. Until the COVID-19 virus is eradicated or strictly under control, these precautions will become part of the new norm.

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