MUSIC FESTIVALS, CONCERTS, AND RAVES? OH MY! SOME EVENTS ARE BACK FOR SUMMER. BUT HOW COVID SAFE WILL THEY BE?

Brandon Finney (on right) attending Countdown NYE Festival in 2020

It was a pre-pandemic rave in San Bernardino. Senior Brandon Finney had never felt more alive than he did amongst thousands of other people coming together for the common goal of simply having a good time. With his onesie on, and the bass of the music pumping through his body, he said to himself “Oh my god, I’m home.”

Finney has been a “rave-goer,” for the past four years and said there is nothing that compares. 

Finney says, “In terms of adding to my life, raves just made me think more positively in my everyday life by taking the attributes that people act in raves, in this magic land where everyone accepts everyone loves everybody. It doesn’t matter where anyone comes from or what they look like or anything, and I try to apply that to my everyday life.”

Since the one year anniversary of the pandemic has finally passed us, coupled with thousands of vaccines being administered everyday, life is slowly getting back to normal. 

Many music festivals, concerts, and raves have announced that they are finally going to take place which for many, is very exciting. However for others, this news is horrifying.

Jane Simonetti showing off her completed vaccine card.

Sophomore Film Production major Jane Simonetti is immunocompromised and is very against the happenings of any sort of large gathering . For her, attending any sort of concert sounds like a nightmare.

“My opinion of people who choose to go to large gathering events such as giant concerts, is that I think they’re extremely irresponsible and selfish, because a lot of people, myself included, have missed out on a lot of opportunities and activities because we don’t want to get our elderly family members sick or immunocompromised roommates, aka me.”

She believes that attending these events is not only irresponsible for putting yourself at risk, but for putting those around you at risk as well, which also includes the new variants of COVID developing.

“I think that music festivals and places should be required to get proof of full vaccinations because you shouldn’t be allowed to go to events and then put other people at risk just because you want to, you should be in charge of making sure everyone else is safe.”

Here’s a look at major events that had to skip a year because of the pandemic but are back to roar: Lollapalooza, Burning Man, Bottle Rock, Summerfest, Electric Forest, and Outside Lands. (All the majors, except for Coachella and Stagecoach.) 

However people feel about these events taking place, they have already announced lineups, sold tickets, and people are planning their attendance. So, what precautions will be put in place at these events to not escalate the spread of COVID?

Avani Tumuluri attending Outside Lands in 2020.

Sophomore biology major Avani Tumuluri is someone who very much loved attending concerts and music festivals before the pandemic; however, she feels that the pandemic has matured her and changed her priorities. 

“I love attending concerts because when I am really passionate about an artist it is really fun to see them perform in person and to experience the music live especially because it is something friends can do together especially in our young years,” said Tumuluri.

Tumulri  feels that she would only attend one of these events this coming summer and fall depending on the precautions put into place to ensure attendee safety.

“Especially with me not having the vaccine, I just don’t think it’s worth it to go to areas like that while you are in quarantine, it is just not worth risking your life. Now that I’ve been through the pandemic and really have not gone to a lot of concerts in a year or two it just isn’t a priority for me anymore. I’m considering going to a drive in music festival in the fall but it depends on the precautions. If the precautions aren’t good, I’m not going,” said Tumuluri.

Peter Eastlake is the man who started “Wine Lands,” at Outside Lands, a music festival which occurs every year (besides last) in San Francisco. This music festival was started in 2008, and has been occurring every summer in Golden Gate park every year since. Although, this year, due to COVID, the event will be happening this October.

Peter Eastlake, Creator of “Wine Lands”

“The promoters are obviously in close touch with park, city, and state officials on all aspects of how this will impact the festival. Having the festival Halloween weekend vs. early August gives us all collectively more time,” Peter said.

He believes the precautions that are currently put into place will ensure safety for all the guests planning on attending the festival.

“Safety of festival attendees is always the top priority, so I’m sure the guidelines that emerge over the coming months will reflect that commitment to safety,” said Eastlake.

As you can see, it is still too early to tell if the precautions put into place at these concerts, raves, and music festivals will indeed ensure safety or if the COVID rates will continue to go up once these events begin to occur once more. But at the end of the day, the choice is yours whether you want to attend and whether you think the risk is worth it.

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