Even with COVID-19 cases at an all-time high, there is a huge pressure for live music to go back to normal. Over the last month or so, we’ve been seeing festivals and shows like Mini Fest in Wisconsin, the Chainsmokers set on Long Island, NY and the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Rally (happening now) in South Dakota acting as if no such pandemic is happening, where social-distancing and masks are seemingly optional, putting thousands at risk of contracting the virus.
One person incensed by these recent festivals is prominent festival promoter Kevin Lyman, the creator of Warped Tour, Taste of Chaos, Rockstar Mayhem Festival and more. Responding on Twitter to a story about Smash Mouth’s set at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Rally this weekend, Lyman said, “This is one more reason we will not see shows in the near future, or any future if it keeps happening. Sets the whole business back every time it does. Every time this happens it messes it up for those who want to do it right.”
Lyman should know about making sacrifices because of the pandemic. In May, he had to postpone the return of the Mayhem Festival, which was supposed to make a comeback this year after nearly five years off the road, until 2021.
Perhaps he’d be more satisfied with how seriously the UK is taking safety when it comes to bringing back live music. On Tuesday (11), the first socially-distanced event venue, the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, held its first concert with singer-songwriter Sam Fender, to much success. Groups of no more than five concertgoers were able to see the show from private risers stationed two meters apart, with their cars also stationed two meters apart and lines for the toilets going in a one-way direction. Photos show that patrons abided by the rules of the venue and had a great time.
Virgin Money Unity Arena will be putting on shows between now and mid-September. Upcoming shows include Two Door Cinema Club, Supergrass, The Libertines and Van Morrison, among others.
Hopefully this can be a model for how socially-distanced shows should be and a step in the right direction for how concerts can get back to “normal” safely.
This is one more reason we will not see shows in the near future, or any future if it keeps happening. Sets the whole business back every time it does. Every time this happens it messes it up for those who want to do it right. https://t.co/jxOKT1YDPG
— KevinLyman (@KevinLyman) August 10, 2020
The first socially distanced concert was absolutely surreal but really well thought out. Sam Fender was amazing 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/RtUeNLZhtq
— alisha henry (@alishamhenry) August 11, 2020
Sam Fender in Newcastle tonight. It all looks very strange but fair play to the organisers for finding a way to get live music out there again. pic.twitter.com/cofezOiLyp
— Sarah (@StageySarah) August 11, 2020
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Sam Fender live in Newcastle tonight – the first socially distanced large scale concert. Very civilised. Seems to work. 600 pens with 5 family/friends per pen. Sensible loo/bar/food arrangements. It’s the future! And least for the foreseeable…… pic.twitter.com/WN0NJsyCXc
— Brian Ham (@_BrianHam) August 11, 2020