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How To Participate In Live Music’s Glorious Return

How To Participate In Live Music’s Glorious Return

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but it really seems like we might be gearing up to return to normalcy. I’m counting down the days until my second shot will have been in my arm long enough that I’ll be as immunized to coronavirus as currently possible, and I know that many people around me are doing the same. It’s been a rough year, I’m hoping that normal life might return with just enough of a bang to make up for it. But for everything I’ve had to give up because of this pandemic, the single thing I miss the most just might be live music, both as a performer and as a frequent audience member. 

However, I think that there’s going to be much more to participating in the return of live music than simply waiting for it. Live music is going to be different when it first comes back, as will your participation in it. In this piece, I’m going to go over what I believe are the three most important things you’re going to have to do safely and happily attend shows again in the near(ish) future. 


Get Your Shots

Obviously access to vaccines isn’t equally available to everyone right now but if you’re hoping to partake in the upcoming wave of live music events, then my first and strongest piece of advice is to get vaccinated as soon as you’re able. The presence of vaccines is what’s making the return of live music possible in the first place, and if you want to be in the scene, then it’s important to do your part to make that scene safe again. 

Getting vaccinated will not only reduce your chances of getting sick yourself but, more importantly, being vaccinated also reduces your chances of inadvertently spreading the virus to others by a significant margin. This means that getting vaccinated isn’t just a good decision for your personal safety, but a responsible move for the well-being of the entire musical community that you’re hoping to join. 

Rules regarding who qualifies for the vaccine and how to go about getting one if you do currently vary state by state. If you currently have yet to get your first shot then it’s worthing doing some research to see if you qualify, and if not, it’s worth figuring out when you might. If you do qualify, then the website TurboVax, (not to be confused with the similarly titled tax site TurboTax), is a great data aggregating site from which you can easily set up an appointment.  

Go Underground

Once you’re fully immunized from the virus, my next piece of advice is to look into your local DIY music scene. A DIY music scene means any music scene that operates outside the industry of typical music venues, and includes shows that take place in such locations as art spaces, residential homes, after hours at private businesses that are not typically venues, and pretty much any other non-venue space you can think of. 

DIY spaces tend not to be profit-driven business ventures the way, but instead are artist-centered communities created purely for the love of music. Many music lovers will tell you that DIY music spaces have long been the best part of their music scene, but I predict that they will be playing an exceptionally important role in live music during the transitioning phase that we are hopefully about to undergo. 

Because of their lack of capitalistic demand, DIY music spaces that don’t have to worry about profit margins are free to put on smaller, distanced events that are significantly safer as we transition into reopening. Additionally, as DIY spaces are not proper businesses they are not subject to the mandates and requirements affecting formel venues. This gives those running DIY music events way more freedom with how they put on events and how to handle what variables they encounter during re-opening. I myself have noticed plans being quietly placed in the world of DIY music for covid-safe events in the coming months on a scale that I’m simply not seeing from traditional venues, and I firmly believe that the reasons just discussed are a major part of why that is. 

The underground and community-oriented nature of most DIY music scenes can make them harder to access to outsiders than a profit-driven traditional venue, but DIY shows can be easy enough to find once you know where to look. If you are unsure where to look, I’d recommend asking the music lovers you know in your area, searching social media for DIY events, and keeping an eye on the activities of some of your favorite local bands. Additionally, if you own, rent, or otherwise have access to a space that you believe may be large for a small, covid-safe show, then you can always consider putting on a show yourself! 

Be Mindful

So you’ve gotten your shots, you’ve found some fun-looking DIY shows featuring some of your favorite local bands, and you’re ready to see live music for the first time in over a year! That’s all great, but there are a few more things that I will like to urge you to consider as you attend these shows. To first, and most important, is that while the vaccine does significantly reduce your chances of transmitting the virus to others, it is currently believed might not reduce it entirely

Furthermore, while the vaccines do reduce your likelihood of contracting coronavirus by astounding margins, none of the vaccines currently available are quite one-hundred-percent effective, meaning that you are still running a slight risk to yourself each and every time you attend an event with other people. So while we approaching a long-awaited return to some degree of normalcy, each of us still has to do our part to be vigilant to prevent a possible fourth-wave as regulations begin to loosen in response to vaccinations, and, as a species, to finally beat this pandemic once and for all. 

That means that even if you’re vaccinated, try your best not to attend over-crowded events and avoid having an excessive amount of contact with the rest of the crowd until enough of the population has been vaccinated that we no longer have to worry about such things. Not being able to jump into the pit at punk and hardcore shows is probably going to break my heart a bit this summer, but we’ve all made so many sacrifices this past year that if it feels a little foolish to be unwilling to make a few more small ones in this final stretch. 


Ben Fitts is a musician, writer, and instructor at New York City Guitar School. He is the guitarist of the indie rock band War Honey, the author of numerous works including the short story collection My Birth And Other Regrets, and a former NYC Guitar School student himself.


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