The Return of Live Music

IT’S BACK! Just kidding. Unless you count drive-in concerts as “back”, which, I personally classify those as: “I paid $150 to cry in my car and I can’t get out because I’m blocked in by 50 other people crying in their cars.” Mental breakdowns are normal now, right? Sick.

Anyway, let’s talk live music. Our ~insider sources~ pointed us in the direction of an industry chat that happened on Clubhouse. If you don’t know what Clubhouse is, it’s basically a guy trying to make conference calls sexy and elite when in reality it’s a glorified podcast that you can’t play back. It’s like if Snapchat, The League, and Omegle had a baby that nobody asked for.

The call had major players from the music industry discussing timelines and options for the return of live music we’ve been craving. There was a lot of good discussion and some differing opinions. For the sake of all our short attention spans, here are the key takeaways:

  • COVID outlook should look much better in April/May. If this holds, we could see 100% capacity concerts by Q4
  • Acts with little overhead will likely be the first to return. Think rappers, solo singers, smaller groups vs. big names like Billie Eillish or the Weeknd who have much more complex tours.
  • All outdoor venues are up for grabs regardless of size. What I mean: think of your local venues that typically only do a couple shows a year. They will be the easiest to turn on, therefore they could get a lot busier and bounce back faster than big arenas.
  • Artists are extremely eager to get back out there (no, duh). This could mean we see some stripped down shows with less production to mitigate costs and reduce timelines.
  • Festivals. Saving the best for last. The waters are still murky here…but it sounds like bigger fests may hold off till 2022 for the sake of lead time (4-6 months) and to guarantee that they can get an ROI from all the work that would go into it.
    • Keep in mind, Coachella cancelled their April dates but rumor has it they’ve claimed a few weekends in October in case a Q4 ‘Chella can happen. A decision on that will probably be made in April.

As far as ticket prices go, the speakers recognize the financial strain many of us are under and they say that they will be doing everything to avoid pushing additional costs onto fans.

Overall, this is so-so news. It’s nice to have more visibility, but there are so many ever-changing variables in play. Case and vaccine rates, state-by-state restrictions, political pressure to re-open are all factors to watch. It’ll also be up to the artists to weigh the pros and cons of continuing drive-thru shows or waiting until that 100% capacity mark to return to the stage.

At the end of the day, we all just want to see a show in person, surrounded by other people. So continue to do your part and tell your friends to do their part in the hopes that we can all be together, jumping up and down in a field with a $30 drink in our hands while the bass from the stage pulsates through our bodies, reminding us what it’s like to feel alive. I could cry just thinking about it, but that’s something to unpack at a later date.

Till next time, fam.

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