Concert attendance is long-awaited, safe with proper precautions

Modesty Manion

I love concerts. I’ve been seeing live shows since I was around 6 years old, and have attended over 30 since then. When all of the concerts I had lined up to see in 2020 got canceled, I was devastated. Because of these various complications, I didn’t start going to concerts again until October of last year. I was hesitant at first, considering I hadn’t been to a concert since December 2019. But then, I realized a few major points that eased my nerves. 

The main fear I had was that the venues where I was seeing artists wouldn’t have proper COVID-19 regulations. The thought of a huge crowd screaming, singing and dancing in a confined space scared me. But I realized that, by law, the venue management had to follow CDC restrictions. Because the CDC has the best interest of U.S. citizens and their health, they would not be lenient on COVID-19 guidelines of gatherings in big spaces if it would put concert-goers in a vulnerable position.

Although every show seems to have different rules, I have been pleasantly surprised with the safety measures that are being taken. For example, about two weeks ago I went to a concert at the famous First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. In order to enter the main room, we had to show our tickets and our vaccine cards. If you didn’t have proof of vaccination, you had to show a negative COVID-19 test from the last 72 hours. Once we went inside, I was pleased to see that the majority of attendees were wearing masks. First Avenue also sells masks near the coat check. On their website, they have issued an announcement that, as of June 1, they will not require proof of vaccination or a negative test. However, artists can still request that these rules are enforced.

When this change happens, as with many other venues, First Avenue will have similar COVID-19 policies to that of Park schools. There will be no vaccination requirements or mask mandates, which is exactly what is happening at our school. This makes sense because there are a lot of similarities between school and concerts — hundreds of people in the same place talking, eating, etc. If there aren’t any restrictions in school, why should there be any at concerts? Especially considering some of the hallway traffic jams that occur at Park, the amount of contact a person will experience is not that different.

The COVID-19 cases in both Minnesota and Hennepin County have been low as of late, which is another big reason concerts are becoming increasingly safe. According to the CDC, Minnesota’s COVID-19 cases have gone down by 59% since January. In fact, on April 16, Hennepin County had no newly reported cases. With more and more people having access to the vaccine and booster shots, cases are going down and our anxiety should do the same.

As far as concerns that don’t involve COVID-19 go, every concert is going to have some aspect of risk. Mosh pits and crowding people are just part of the experience, and that is not going to change anytime soon. The Travis Scott concert at Astrofest last year in which nine people died is not a representation of concerts as a whole. In fact, the event is only a characterization of Travis Scott. Many artists, such as Billie Eilish, Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Sza have all stopped concerts when they saw a fan was in distress. I attended an Arcade Fire concert where the same thing happened. Although concerts are not inherently dangerous, every show is going to have some sort of risk factor — as would a party, sports event or even going to school.

Before going to a concert, one should assess their current situation and decide on the path that best suits their needs. Those who feel more comfortable wearing masks should do so. The same goes for those who don’t feel that they’re ready to attend concerts again. That’s completely understandable. But for those who have been fully vaccinated, stayed safe for the past two years and feel it is time to return to concerts, I’d say they should go for it.