Posted on: October 1, 2021 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Picture this: You are at a fairly small music venue, with one or two rows of people between you and the stage. The bass is thumping, and you can feel every drumbeat as if it’s your own heartbeat. The lead singer keeps looking in your direction, and it wouldn’t be far off to assume that he’s actually looking in your direction. An electricity is in the air as everyone around you gets excited for every song, and everyone knows every lyric. The next morning, the only evidence that what you experienced wasn’t a dream are the X marks on your hands and the pictures in your phone. 

Throughout last year, it felt like concerts would be a thing of the past. Thankfully, events like this have come back in full force. Most venues are now having shows at least once a week, and we saw the return of Lollapalooza. Personally, I have been to multiple concerts in the last month and am planning on going to more.

Rosie Finnegan

Opinion Editor

Something that has been a point of contention, however, is the need for a vaccination card or a negative COVID test to enter a venue.

To me, the need for these things is obvious. Venues are packed with people, anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000 attendees, depending on the size. According to Kelly Bauer, a writer for Block Club Chicago, Lollapalooza saw over 385,000 people. 

Keeping the general public safe should be our main concern as we continue to push forward through these trying times. Everyone should be able to enjoy events, whether they are considered high risk or are an average person with a strong immune system. Through masks, vaccinations, and testing, we are able to ensure that all parties are safe.

Lollapalooza proved the effectiveness of these measures. Sophia Tareen, writer for AP News, reported that 203 COVID cases were directly related to the festival. These cases were expected by the city of Chicago, and none of them led to death or hospitalization. 

When it comes to events like concerts, we should view them as a privilege. And sometimes, privileges come with prerequisites. As someone who enjoys music and would even consider it to be a lifeline, the requirement of being vaccinated is not a deterrent. In fact, if I had not already been vaccinated before planning the shows I wanted to attend, I most likely would have gotten the vaccine just to streamline the process of entrance. 

Photo by Rosie Finnegan
The band Dead Poet Society performs at Bottom Lounge in Chicago.

Requiring every guest to present a negative COVID test at the door would be the best way to ensure safety. As the Delta variant surges through communities, even vaccinated people are susceptible to contracting the virus.

It might be a little inconvenient to get tested 72 hours prior to attending an event. But since unvaccinated people are required to get tested for school and work, it should not be too much to ask everyone–even vaccinated people–to get tested to attend concerts. 

Like many people, I consider music as incredibly important to my life, and live music is included in that. I would not have a problem getting tested if it means that I am able to celebrate music with like-minded people and enjoy myself at these venues.

It’s a question to ask yourself: Would you be willing to take extra steps to take advantage of privileges and be right in the middle of the electricity of a live performance? 

Concerts during COVID would be improved by requiring all patrons to present a negative test at the door. If we want to continue to feel that intense sense of community and go home with a shared experience with a few hundred other people, this is not too much to ask. Live music is such an important part of society, and we can’t risk having it taken away for a second time.