Despite the surge in the pandemic, music festivals have returned.
BY ANTONIA CAMPBELL, ’22.
After over a year of living in an isolated, mask-filled and fearful world, the country has brought concerts, music festivals and other large in-person events back.
With COVID-19 vaccines becoming more accessible, many people’s favorite artists are performing at festivals and confidently scheduling tours all over the country.
Music festivals such as Rolling Loud in Miami and Lollapalooza in Chicago took place in late July and had large turnouts. Around 80,000 people attended Rolling Loud each day. Artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, and Travis Scott performed.
Lollapalooza had an even larger turnout with around 100,000 people each day and nearly 200 artists such as Miley Cyrus, Tyler, the Creator and the Foo Fighters. There were many parallels as far as the festivals’ lineups, although Lollapalooza was less rap based than Rolling Loud.
Regarding safety precautions, Lollapalooza required proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test within the past three days. There were also mask rules for unvaccinated attendees.
“If you weren’t vaccinated and showed proof of a negative COVID test, you were asked to wear a mask throughout the festival,” Lollapalooza attendee and sophomore Lucy Devine said.
However, Rolling Loud did not have any general COVID restrictions.
“You didn’t have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. I have seen other festivals doing that, but at Rolling Loud they really had no way of showing vaccination,” senior Jimmy Chieffo, who attended Rolling Loud, said. “I’m pretty sure Florida has basically given up on trying to stop the spread.”
Masks were not mandatory for everyone at either festival, and the amount of people who chose to wear one was low.
“I saw a few people in the crowd with masks, but I don’t know how they did it because it was already hot and hard to breathe without them. Most of the staff and security didn’t have masks either,” Chieffo said.
Senior Lauren Olmstead attended Lollapalooza and also saw few mask-wearers.
“I didn’t really see people in masks. If I did, it was either kids or workers,” Olmstead said.
With the new Delta variant and varying vaccine statuses, it’s difficult to say for sure whether in-person concerts and music festivals are considered safe. As of now, every person is willing to take different risks, and artists and companies are taking different precautions.
“I personally felt safe because my family and I have been fully vaccinated for a few months. But I can definitely understand someone saying they didn’t feel safe,” Chieffo said.
For many, attending the festivals was worth the risks.
“I had a really good time overall. There were a few problems like sets starting late and having to wait in super long lines, but I still can’t complain because I got to see almost everyone I’ve ever wanted to,” Chieffo said.
The pandemic has left lasting effects, even if most aspects of life are generally back to normal.
“I had a lot of fun and I definitely wasn’t expecting that many people. I think COVID has really changed me socially where before I would love hanging out with people at the festival, but now I am a little more shy when it comes to concerts,” Olmstead said.
More festivals, such as Breakaway and WonderBus, are coming soon to wrap up the summer. Artists such as Elton John and Tyler, the Creator are coming to perform in Columbus early next year and students are excited to attend these events.
“I plan to go back to Lollapalooza and [see] other artists like Caamp, Tyler, the Creator, and many more,” Devine said.