Live Music Returns to Nashville

By Michelle Ikejiani / Arts and Entertainment Editor

COVID-19 stalled all in-person live events scheduled to occur during 2020 and the beginning of 2021, and fans were forced to watch online events rather than be surrounded by fellow music lovers in person. As COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, many are excited to be able to attend in-person performances again. 

“After more than a year without live music, promoters, bands and fans are eager to keep the concerts going, but uncertainty remains over whether the vaccine or negative-test requirements actually make large concerts safe even if held outdoors,” CNN reporter Eric Berger said.

With the rise of in-person events, there is shared anxiety amongst many people that the increases in crowds will spread variants of the COVID-19 virus. However, Lollapalooza, a Chicago music festival that occurred from July 29 through Aug. 1 and was foreshadowed to be a superspreader event, was not actually a particularly dangerous gathering. 

“It turned out that Lollapalooza was not a superspreader event, at least according to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, who reported that only 203 attendees were diagnosed with COVID,” Berger said.

With the constantly changing landscape of the pandemic, it is unclear when life will return to pre-pandemic normalcy. Along with Lollapalooza, many artists have been able to schedule more in-person performances. Additionally, upcoming mainstream concerts are starting to sell out once again, suggesting that music lovers can once again attend exciting live events.

Harpeth Hall music fans, along with many fans around the world, are excited to see their favorite artists in concert again. For example, on Aug.15, senior Gabby Welhoelter attended the Wilco Concert at the Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville. But, as crowds start rolling in, COVID-19 regulations are still kept in mind by organizers and concertgoers alike.

“I had to present my vaccine card and my ID and had to have a mask with me if I wanted to go inside, or I had to have a negative PCR test from 72 hours prior,” Welhoelter said. 

Because the concert venue clearly specified the safety guidelines, the atmosphere seemed to be relatively safe while also being fun and entertaining. As concerts are becoming somewhat of a regular occurrence now with more events being scheduled for music venues, live music can be enjoyed once again. 

“I loved [the performance]. It was so much fun getting back to a concert and enjoying live music again. The energy was awesome because everyone was just appreciative of being there and being present,” Welhoelter said.

LOVE ON TOUR: Juniors Ann Gailor Strobel and Mia Courts enjoy Harry Styles’ Love on Tour concert at Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 1. Both COVID-19 vaccination cards and masks were required to enter the concert, but some attendees briefly took off their masks to take a picture. Photo by Mia Courts / Photography Editor 

With COVID-19 guidelines continuing to change, venues are allowing less social distancing and a larger audience capacity while still being conscious of pandemic safety guidelines. With the hopeful start of a new post-COVID-19 atmosphere, students at Harpeth Hall can enjoy some of their favorite artists in person. For instance, many Harpeth Hall students attended Harry Styles’ rescheduled Nashville Love on Tour performances on Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. One student who attended the concert was junior Mary Meacham. 

“There was little to no social distancing but everyone at the concert had to present their vaccination card and wear a mask,” Meacham said.

Other highly anticipated live events happening around Nashville this fall and early next year include performances at Marathon Music Works such as Surfaces on Oct. 27 and Ashe’s Fault Line Tour on Apr.20. Additionally, some concerts coming to Bridgestone Arena are Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia Tour on Feb. 14, Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever World Tour on Mar. 9 and Justin Bieber’s Justice World Tour on May 17.

Of course, through this pandemic lessons of uncertainty and expecting the worst have been learned. With the concert industry, lots of unpredictability is expected as events have been known to quickly be shut down due to unforeseen rises in COVID cases. 

On the other hand, if decreasing numbers become evident, a sense of normalcy might be waiting and fans can enjoy the awaited ambiance of simply being together with fans in the crowds once again. 

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