Do you remember the last concert or music festival you went to before the pandemic hit? Well, I do. The festival was held around February – a month before the Government prohibited any (large scale) events due to the outgrowing deadly virus. Looking back, I wanted to thank my impulsive self for going to the festival at the very last minute.
Nobody could foresee what was going to happen in the next few weeks. Since then, every event is held virtually and the use of technology has come in handy. Online schools, working from home, virtual concerts, online talk shows, yadda yadda yadda, you name it – everything is online. Some of us have already got used to it but there’s always going to be a small part of yourself that misses the old mask-free life. Sometimes you find yourself daydreaming about those moments, constructing memories, and trying to relive the scattered old images in your head.
It has been exactly 1 year and 9 months since my last music festival. I sat here as I am writing this article, reminiscing how I used to dress up, did my hair and makeup, taking hundreds of pictures and videos of the performances and of my friends and I dancing around, jumping, singing along – just having so much fun in general. I remembered how each concert or music festival I went to would leave me with post-concert syndrome afterward. However, as of now, there is nothing more important than everyone’s health and safety. Hence the stoppage of live concerts is necessary.
How the pandemic affected artists and performers around the world
The pandemic has affected everything, especially the music industry. Several concerts were canceled and postponed until the situation is better. Bands and singers around the world used to go on tour as one of their sources of income. They had no option but to adapt. Some even had to try their luck in other sectors to survive during this turbulence. Some insisted on being patient and kept on pursuing their passion for music by holding virtual concerts streamed across the Internet. However virtual concerts and festivals are less on demand compared to a live performance. It is hard to achieve a direct and intimate connection between musicians and their fans in a virtual concert. As the interest in watching virtual performances decreased, artists and performers around the world relied on other sources of income and business opportunities.
Reallowing concerts and festivals in Indonesia
Recently, the Indonesian Communications and Information Minister, Johnny G. Plate is considering allowing large events to be held, including music concerts and festivals, with the established guidelines. The government will give permission for large activities as long as the numbers of Covid-19 cases remain low and under control. Promoters and organizers are expected to coordinate carefully with the government and the local Covid-19 Task Force. Despite the pros and cons arising from the policy, this is definitely a win for the music industry. It could be considered as a reward for being patient and obedient throughout the pandemic.
What to expect and lessons taken from Astroworld Festival 2021
Concerts are already coming back in the US with the Covid-19 protocols in place. On November 5, Travis Scott, the world-known rapper, held his annual Astroworld Festival at NRG Park in Houston, Texas. There were around 50,000 concertgoers present in the arena which resulted in a terrifying amount of injuries and deaths among fans. The victims weren’t able to get immediate medical help and strained personnel resources created a deadly environment.
It is understandable that people were excited to attend a concert after almost two years of waiting and being restricted. Plus, Astroworld Festival is one of the most awaited music festivals in the world. Travis Scott is a great artist and has millions of loyal fans worldwide who enjoy his songs and performances. His festivals are described as “out-of-this-world” by a mass of people. But yesterday’s events raise fears in some about the future of gathering in a crowd when live music concerts and festivals have just begun to return.
Without diving further into the controversy of Astroworld Festival 2021, the fear of gathering in a crowd after almost 2 years of being isolated is rational and justifiable. The first music festival is expected to be crowded since many people are all looking forward to being “free” of the pandemic. Before this, concerts and festivals were everywhere. Most of them were annual events. There was always a thought, “If I can’t go this year, then I’ll have another chance next year.” However, the pandemic turned this mindset into, “If I can’t go this year, will I still be able to go next year?” Then people will try to make the most of every opportunity they have to go out.
Therefore, it is important to take extra measures when the first music festival or concert is being held in Indonesia. Crowd surges can occur when a large group of people is densely packed into a tight space. It has nothing to do with the music, the fans, or even mosh pits, but it has everything to do with the crowd.
Crowd crush is preventable with the proper infrastructure and control measures. Organizers are expected to comply with the guidelines established by the government. Aside from the Covid-19 protocols, extra security and safety measures are needed in the arena. Limiting the number of participants is one of the ways to prevent such a tragedy from happening. Concertgoers are also expected to behave well and accordingly.
The light at the end of the tunnel
With the number of Covid-19 cases lowering, permission from the government and excitement of the people, the music industry could slowly come back with its live performances. Fear is undoubtedly still lurking, but at times like this, it felt like we were all crossing our fingers, hoping the situation would only keep getting better and might actually stay there. Maybe – just maybe, don’t want to jinx it though – we could see the light at the end of the tunnel shining from the concert stage soon enough.
Written by Aldhanti Bodhihanna
Image credit: nicekicks.com
The Conversation. “How Indonesian Young Creative Workers in Yogyakarta Stay Productive Amid The Pandemic.” https://theconversation.com/how-indonesian-young-creative-workers-in-yogyakarta-stay-productive-amid-the-pandemic-165897.
Indonesia Expat. “Government Allows Large Scale Parties and Concerts.” https://indonesiaexpat.id/news/government-allows-large-scale-parties-and-concerts/.
Vox. “Astroworld and the Trickiness of Tragedy Blame Games.” https://www.vox.com/culture/22772690/what-happened-astroworld-travis-scott-live-nation.