Uncertainty: that seems to be the word that travels the world when it comes to the possible return of concerts and mass shows during 2021 . This was one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, as biosafety regulations directly attack its nature, and now look with hope and some cautious skepticism at the past year
The omens are not very good, according to In the most recent statements of the leading epidemiologist of the United States, Anthony Fauci, the "return to normality" is being foreseen for 2022 , postponing once again this tentative date that at the beginning of January was located between September and October of this year according to the
This shows a bleak outlook, since the United States is not only one of the countries that hosts the most important music festivals for the international concert circuit, but it is also one of the countries where vaccination began first and is most advanced .
The vaccine appears to be the light at the end of the tunnel and is what organizers of major events around the world aim for when they are questioned about the return of the concerts for this year. But the advance of immunizations is slow and there are more people needing to be vaccinated than there are vaccines available, not to mention the particularities of each country, its ability to access the scarce vaccines and to distribute them efficiently among its population. According to a consensus, most epidemiologist experts say that to achieve a herd immunity between 70% and 90% of the population must be vaccinated and even in this scenario the use of a mask and social distance is still necessary to avoid new peaks of the virus that among other things has mutated into different variants that affect the effectiveness of the same vaccines
According to Danielle Ompad, associate professor of epidemiology specializing in infectious diseases at the New York University School of Global Public Health the challenges of vaccination in the United States and in the world go through guaranteeing enough vaccines for the entire population. ion and that most of the population is willing to be vaccinated.
also warns that being vaccinated can prevent people from getting seriously ill and significantly reduce deaths, but it is not yet clear if they completely eliminate the risk of infection.
“ Because there are complications that we did not have last summer, I am not very hopeful that live concerts will return for at least another year, at least those that I would feel safe to attend, " said Ompad in a statement delivered to VICE.
Under this scenario, the great concerts worldwide face the challenge of reinventing themselves or seeing themselves in the painful need to be canceled for the second consecutive year.
The fallen giants
This year Glastonbury would celebrate 51 years of life, but the party in the middle century bringing music to thousands of fans will be postponed for another year. Already in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the 50th edition had to be canceled.
At the end of January the hopes of Glastonbury 2021 were officially buried after the official communication of the festival announcing its cancellation.
“Despite our efforts to remove heaven and earth, we simply will not be able to organize the festival this year ”, said Michael and Emily Eavis organizers of the event in a statement posted on Twitter.
The legendary festival in the United Kingdom, considered one of the largest and most important outdoor events of the world, gathers more than 200 thousand spectators every summer in three days of music and it had been performed annually without interruptions from 1970 on the last weekend of June until the fateful 2020, which featured a poster with artists of the stature of Paul McCartney , Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Diana Ross.
Its cancellation for this year marks a course for what will be the first semester of 2021, and the bets for the summer circuit that have mostly been canceled. Weeks before making it official, Paul McCartney, who was expected to repeat the lineup in this year's version, had already shown his pessimism in statements to The Rolling Stones: “ I would like to be at Glastonbury 2021, but for this year I don't see 100,000 people at a festival ”.
Just as Glastonbury, another giant of the spring-summer festival circuit, coachella, which was scheduled for the weekends of April 9-11 and April 16-18, was definitely canceled for this year's edition.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been held in Indio, California (United States) since 1999 and last year it tried unsuccessfully to postpone its dates to the end of the year after the initial postponement of its 21st edition due to the pandemic. This year, however, a directive from the office of Dr. Cameron Kaiser, who is responsible for public health for Riverside County, to the Goldenvoice production company, which organizes the festival, ended the hope of holding the event.
“The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Country Music Festival currently scheduled for April 2021 are canceled. This order is issued as a result of the global epidemic of the COVID-19 disease, also known as the new coronavirus, which has infected at least 100,418,923 individuals worldwide in 192 countries and is implicated in more than 2,161,547 deaths worldwide from this order. Riverside County has 266,849 confirmed cases and 2,970 deaths, " the statement says.
Health authorities say that an event of such magnitudes " would make it unfeasible, if not impossible, to monitor people who may be at risk.
According to the latest figures published by the festival, in its 2017 edition Coachella was attended by 750 thousand people in the two weekends, and it raised a record figure of 115 million dollars.
The Stagecoach Festival, which takes place in the same place in Coachella and was scheduled from April 23 to 25, moved about 80 thousand people per day in 2019.
As well as the big festivals, the other smaller ones that were also programmed for spring and summer are being canceled around the world
The panorama in Latin America
The fate of the great Latin American festivals is still uncertain, with most of them hoping that in the second half of the year vaccination has advanced enough as to allow its realization
Such is the case of Rock in Rio in Brazil, which is scheduled for September 24, 25, 26 and 30, and October 1,2,3.
Of all those days, the The organization of the festival has only announced artists for one, the “Metal Day” on September 24 that would feature I ron Maiden, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Sepultura and the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, on its main stage and with Living Color ft Steve Vai on the sunset stage.
In Brazil the rumors of cancellation are strong, to the point of having to be denied by the festival in a statement where they affirm that everything continues according to the plan and trust the advance of vaccination to guarantee health security during the event .
In the statement the organizers of Rock in Rio say that they are "with great hope and faith" and that "they are seeing the advance of vaccines and confident in the possibility of holding the festival."
“We will make many masks, we will distribute gel alcohol and we will follow the protocols,” they add.
However, time moves on and uncertainty remains for an event of the magnitude of Rock in Rio . According to specialized journalists from Crasil, such as Lauro Jardim, April would be the decisive month to define the fate of the festival , which unlike other major events was not canceled due to the pandemic as it takes place every two years and its last edition was in 2019 .
Other major events on the continent such as the Viña del Mar Festival in Chile, the carnivals in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Barranquilla (Colombia) were definitively canceled, leaving multimillion-dollar losses
Postponements are also on the order of the day with the Chilean and Argentine editions of Lollapalooza moved to September, as well as the Festival Estéreo Picnic de Colombia and the Vive Latino de México that also set their dates for that month.
* An essential
'ritual' “The live show is a meeting ritual, it is also the point on which all this sound ecosystem has a possibility of being viable from an economic perspective ", says Álvaro Gonzáles Villamarí n, better known as 'El Profe', one of the most renowned music journalists and announcers in Colombia
'El Profe' who directs Radiónica, a public radio station of alternative and independent music, and organizes the Radiónica Concert, which annually brings together the The best of the Colombian independent scene, he spoke with Infobae about how difficult the pandemic has been for the music industry at all levels and the hopes that live shows will finally return.
"Live music is a very important element of the construction of a market, but also of the artistic, aesthetic and cultural memory that is part of that entertainment market," he points out.
For him, faith is in the second semester of the year, in the circuits that are announced worldwide between September and December, which still hold their dates waiting for the vaccination to advance and the regulations of each country allow mass events to return.
Highlights some events in Argentina, by bands such as Eruca Sativa, who have ventured to play again in front of the public, in open field events and with capacity control. Bets that test the creativity of artists and concert promoters to stay active.
“You have to create alternatives that are very brave and don't let the music die. We really need live music, it is one of the cultural rituals that is most needed, ”he reiterates .
Part of this reinvention will also involve looking for guarantees so that those who attend the concerts feel safe, and so that the festivals themselves and events can be developed by finding alternatives that respect the biosecurity protocols that exist in the countries or cities where they are held
One measure that is gaining strength in the world is the requirement of vaccination certificates to attend events, to the point that the Ticketmaster, one of the world's largest event ticketing companies, is exploring the possibility of expanding its digital ticket sales to include options for organizers who want to require attendees to be vaccinated.
The problem goes beyond large events, says Villamarín, because the lack of regular live shows, such as the national and local circuits of each country and city, which are not massive, particularly affect new, independent or new bands and artists. emerging, which depend a lot on the live show to develop.
“Every new artistic process needs the live show to seduce, convince and grow. A year went by where many gangs could not reflect their projects before the public, ”he points out.
This in particular in Colombia says that it hit a whole generation of gangs that was beginning to gain strength at the national level and some internationally when the pandemic arrived and That stoppage could be fatal, in the worst case scenario, for many of them.
“For emerging bands it will always be very difficult not to be able to play, and it is a generation that is very dependent on the live show to develop. We must pay attention to a new generation that the world could lose and it would be terrible ”, he highlights .
But just as it has brought problems, opportunities arise from crises, especially for art, and this is also highlighted by Villamarín, who highlights the "Interesting sound material, especially at the level of lyrics" that has emerged in the midst of the pandemic.
Virtual events, and controlled presence experiments to return to the live show are also highlighted as reinventions of the music industry so as not to lose contact with the public, a fundamental part of its essence.
“When all these strange times pass, live shows are going to have many new features. I think we are going to start having bands with pretty risky performances and staging. Every crisis brings an opportunity and more for art as such ”, sentences' El Profe'.
So, will the concerts return? Neither 'El Profe' Villamarín nor any event organizer in the world dares to give a definitive answer today, but all music lovers are waiting and hoping.
“I am hopeful because I love music and I would not want to lose it, It is something that I miss and value. Every concert I experienced before the pandemic is an experience of vitality and transcendence, " says Villamarín and I think we agree.
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platform Source: Infobae