Open-air concerts are far less likely than closed venue concerts – and here’s why
There have been very few events that could impact the global entertainment industry. From the era of Woodstock and other famous, prominent, and influential music events, the 21st century lives on live concerts. Some of the most famous artists in the world sometimes tour several times per year, attracting crowds of millions of people globally. However, this well-organized industry had to come to a complete standstill amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
As of now, the coronavirus infection has already been contracted by more than 6 million people around the world while almost 400 thousand have sadly died. Epicenters of the virus are countries where the live entertainment industry is truly thriving. The United States keeps being the most affected nation globally with the total number of cases nearing a whopping 2 million mark. Others with severe restrictions in place include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and others. All of these nations are home to some of the most prominent music events in the world.
Social distancing is a phenomenon suggesting that individuals take responsibility for keeping a certain distance from others in public spaces, means of transportation, and at work. This is crucial in fighting against the pandemic as the coronavirus infection is extremely highly contagious. It has been stated that an average infected person can transmit the virus to approximately 3 others. The R or the reproduction value is calculated in every country and only the number below 1 is considered to be a positive indicator.
What are the options?
Leading names in the industry are already thinking about potential venues for future live concerts. The first and foremost being considered are hotels. These accommodation venues usually come with a large, extensive network of infrastructure. Convention halls and large hotel lobbies can be just the right place for mid-sized concerts. Respecting social distancing measures within such enclosed and well-controlled spaces will be even easier.
Moreover, there is one part of many hotels, attracting a lot of attention from the industry. Hotel casinos are just perfect for organizing live concerts within them. They often have little stages, big spaces, and tables within them. All of these can be used to safeguard the process of live concerts within hotel-casinos. Moreover, their occupancy rates are sharply dropping amid the pandemic. Representatives of a globally leading online casino Spinia, say, that their traffic is soaring during the worldwide lockdown. The vast majority of new users are those, who can no longer visit physical venues.
Other than hotels, the obvious option for live performances in the years to come is small to medium-sized concert halls. With large venues designated for live music, such as London’s O2 arena, organizers will face the same problem as in the case of open-air spaces. Controlling crowds and meeting government requirements on safety during the pandemic would be far from possible at massive venues such as the O2 Arena. Rather, such venues are used for different critical purposes. The Excel center in London was turned into the Nightingale emergency hospital, treating COVID-19 patients.
On the other hand, theaters, opera houses, and small concert halls or arenas can easily adjust to the current situation. Some of such venues have been removing some seats in order to meet physical distancing requirements set by governments. Adjusting to safety measures is much easier when the already-existing infrastructure supports the process of rearrangement of the venue.
The impact of coronavirus on live concerts around the world
Unfortunately, keeping the distance while listening to the favorite artist’s live performance is practically impossible, especially at the early stages of the pandemic when many things about it are still unknown. For this very reason, a long list of highly anticipated events had to be canceled in order to prevent further community spread of the virus through live concerts.
Today, the question is not when but how will live concerts be held in the nearest future? Without the vaccine expected to be produced for at least the next 12 months, the entire industry can not remain shut down. Many experts have suggested that concerts are held in large, open-air venues, such as big public parks, stadiums, and central avenues. However, that is not exactly the best idea and this is why.
Open-air venues carry a bigger risk of further spread of the virus
It is correct to say that ideally, massive open-air spaces would be able to hold more people together whilst ensuring that the safe distance is kept at all times. However, we should look at the picture realistically. This is not a game and every little mistake can lead to thousands of deaths and absolutely devastating consequences.
Holding events at open-air venues are valid only in case of gathering significant numbers of people that other spaces would not be able to accommodate. Social responsibility amongst members of the public in different countries varies significantly. Although, even in some of the most developed societies, there will always be a few people that swim against the flow. Controlling the crowds in open-air spaces with social distancing rules in place is almost impossible and the extremely high risk that comes with it is simply not worth taking.
Radical alternatives in the digital world
The digital transformation has never been such an active topic as it is during the coronavirus pandemic. The vast majority of employees globally are now staying at home, working from computers. The trend has been extended to live music too as a number of artists streamed online to support their fans and listeners during these unprecedented times.
Many experts in the field suggest that artists should consider organizing online concerts and charge fees for them. This idea could easily work as modern digital technologies enable us to broadcast with high quality and minimal obstacles. Moreover, the coverage of such events could be much bigger than when physically touring.
However, others say that the feeling that comes with live concerts can not be experienced online. They say that it would simply be like listening to the recorded version of a live performance that is widely available on the internet.
What is the future of the industry?
There are many ideas and contradictions about what can be done with the live entertainment industry. However, everyone agrees that it needs to be saved during the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it will be extremely restricted concerts in theaters or online performances, the industry needs to adjust to what reality the pandemic has brought with it.