Concerts- A New Era?

Will Arvant '22, Writer

As someone who loves concerts, and goes to at least one or two a week, I am scared right now. Concerts have been in a bit of a strange place since the end of the COVID-19 lockdown, with some artists opting to only perform at outdoor venues, or others requiring the vaccine or enforcing mask mandates at their shows. At this point, some artists have completely done away with restrictions altogether. Going to concerts now, you always need to check what restrictions are in place, if you need to bring a mask, or if you can just go like normal. Artists have cancelled shows or moved venues days before their concerts due to COVID protocols or other related issues. It’s a strange time, and only getting weirder after the incidents that occurred at Travis Scott’s music festival, Astroworld. 

At this point, most people have probably read, watched, or heard at least something about what happened in Houston, Texas at the highly anticipated music festival. Unfortunately, ten people died at the festival with countless more being injured, including some being hospitalized for their injuries. This is not the first time people have died at concerts from crowd surges.  There were 11 deaths at The Who’s show in Cincinnati back in 1979, or the 9 deaths during Pearl Jam’s set at Roskilde music festival in Denmark in 2000. The difference between these past tragedies and this latest one comes when we look for who is responsible. As artists in the past have done their best to stop the show, or calm raging crowds of fans to help the injured, Travis Scott made little to no effort. Blame for this has been thrown around from the fans in the mosh pits, to the venue coordinators, and artists at the festival. The buck has stopped being passed at Travis Scott himself, as he was performing at the time of the deaths. While his fans may contest this, the fact is that he did continue to perform as crowd members cried out and security members tried to carry people out on stretchers. Whether Travis Scott could hear the cries or not is up for debate, but he certainly did not help the situation. 

This tragedy has thrown concerts into an even stranger situation, as artists struggle to find ways to avoid something like this from happening ever again. Mosh pits are a huge part of the concert experience, especially at rap shows, but many artists are hesitant to encourage their fans to mosh after what happened at Astroworld. Artists are unsure of what to do next. Some have attempted to reduce the potentially dangerous mosh pits at their shows, while others have ignored the issue and continued to perform like normal. 

Between this latest tragedy and the ever-present threat of the COVID-19 virus, concerts have been thrown into a sort of strange limbo between going back into lockdown like before, or continuing on like normal. It’s reminiscent of times here at The High, as we have more and more members of our community testing positive for COVID, and are unsure if we will be able to continue with in-person learning. It is a weird time in our country, and only getting weirder as the pandemic continues. It is strange times like these when it’s most important for us to come together as one community, and work together to get through this pandemic.