Concerts vs COVID: Are students ready to return to live music?

Concerns about venues taking the necessary precautions to keep concert goers safe was a recurring theme with students.

Members+of+an+amped+crowd+during+the+FAU+Bonfire+on+September+9%2C+2021.

Healla Plotnizky

Members of an amped crowd during the FAU Bonfire on September 9, 2021.

Myles Corvalan, Contributing Writer

The wave of new COVID-19 cases, due to the new Omicron variant, is pushing a number of live events to reschedule or cancel altogether. Musical artists, both national and local, were forced to contemplate the decision to host or postpone in the hopes that cases would drop in number.

Gabriella Leto, a junior majoring in accounting, said that if concert venues would take stricter precautions, it would cause her to consider going to a concert again.

“I would like it if [venues] would put a limit on capacity and then do what they kind of did in movie theaters where they pick seats together. The seats next to it, you couldn’t pick [those seats],” Leto said.

Leto also said that if venues required vaccine cards or proof of negative tests, that would factor positively in her decision to attend a concert.

Concerns about venues taking the necessary precautions to keep concert goers safe was a recurring theme with students.

Carisse Joseph, a senior majoring in management information systems, is one of those students who has not attended a concert and has no plans to attend one anytime soon.

“The way I see it with a bunch of concerts I’ve seen happen, I don’t see social distancing enforced. I see people on top of each other and stuff just doesn’t seem very COVID friendly, you know?” Joseph said. “It’d be kind of hard for them to enforce distancing and I don’t even think a lot of people would listen because they would be so excited to be at the concert that they wouldn’t even be paying attention.”

For some students, their families also factor heavily into their choice to attend a concert.

This March, Maria Burgos, a freshman biological science major, wants  to attend artist Conan Gray’s concert .However, due to the rising surge of the Omicron variant, she is apprehensive about attending.

“As much as I want to do [it] and want to go, I have to think about [it]. Because it’s not just me in my house because I don’t live on campus, I live with my family. I have to think about the fact that it’s not just me in that house,” Burgos said.

Burgos, who lives with her mother, father, and younger brother who attends middle school is factoring in how they may be affected if she were to contract the virus. The school her brother currently attends has discontinued distance learning, so if he were to get infected, it could put him behind in class and put a strain on her family for her decision to attend

“Honestly, as much as I want to go, I think for now I’m going to say no,” said Burgos.

Burgos also said  when she attended FAU’s Bonfire in September she felt nervous about catching COVID.

“When I came here for [the] Bonfire, it was on campus, it was over by the Student Union. But nearly nobody had masks. My parents were on the fence about letting me go even though I already had a ticket because they were [concerned]. But a friend of mine had an extra N95 mask and she lent me one of hers,” Burgos said.

Burgos recounted herself being one of the few people at the bonfire wearing masks as she felt uncomfortable because many people surrounded her and it was a hot evening in the middle of September.

“I was trying to be as careful as possible but nobody had masks so I was paranoid about it. Concerts like that with no seats, where everyone is standing up, bunched together, yelling,” Burgos said.

Thankfully, in the coming weeks, she experienced no symptoms and did not contract the virus.

“People should remember that when someone catches COVID, the three days before they have the symptoms is when they’re most contagious so be careful,” Burgos said. “When you live in a dorm with roommates or you live with your family, and you want to go to a huge public event like that where you know a lot of people won’t have masks on, just be careful. Ask yourself, is it worth it getting yourself sick? Is it worth it getting the people around you sick?”

Myles Corvalan is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]