Live music returns with a bang


Greta Reich, Ruthie Lax, Greg Parmer-Lohan, Roxie Dobrer

Photos taken by Sequoia students at concerts around the Bay. Edited by Greta Reich.

Greta Reich, Feature Editor

After far too long of being quietly isolated during the pandemic, live music has returned with a crash and a bang. Practically every artist you can think of is back on tour, selling out venues with Sequoia’s students attending 

It’s not just the artist that draws crowds though – it’s the atmosphere. Fans packed into a venue, speakers blasting at full volume, every word to a song screamed at the singer by everyone around you with absurd amounts of enthusiasm. Concerts bring people together, giving fans the freedom and energy to love something to their fullest ability. 

“There’s something about musicians and artists being able to perform in front of people that is just a special feeling. It just gives you energy… it’s in this collective experience too. We all either like to make music or listen to music or dance to music. So I think that’s an important human connection that we need,” math teacher, and concert lover, Joshua Yezerski said. “There’s just no feeling like being at a show or listening to music and hanging out with friends. It’s great.” 

But with the comeback of concerts has also come the dangers of mosh pits, the chaos of crowds, and now the threat of COVID-19. While a few of these scares already existed, some people seem to be re-contemplating concert going, taking more precautions than they previously would have. For example, GoldenVoice, an organization that owns multiple concert venues in San Francisco, Los Ángeles, and Santa Clara, says on their website that they “will be requiring all attendees and staff to provide proof of full vaccination for entry into our owned & operated venues unless medically or religiously exempt.” Countless other venues require vaccines too, and many indoor venues also ask that masks be worn during the duration of the concert. 

After having waited so long to return to concerts, people are eager to return, but an unexpected ramification of this is that some are more reckless at concerts. Especially after the events of AstroWorld, where eight people died and hundreds were injured in a stampede after the crowd surged forward as Travis Scott performed, safety should be taken more seriously than ever. 

Freshman Iris Dobrer, who regularly attends punk rock concerts in San Francisco explained, “I’m really excited about all the concerts coming back, but I’m also nervous because some artists aren’t taking the time to keep their audiences safe or keep their staff safe. And I feel like that’s really important right now.”

For some however, safety is more about how the fans act rather than the artist. Taking the necessary precautions to feel safe while at a concert is dependent on how safe you feel around the other people there.

“I feel like if you’re going to a concert that’s indoors, and then they have you going through metal detectors and things like that – at those kind of concerts where there’s a lot of security, I don’t worry at all, I’m enjoying the show,” chemistry teacher Jonathan Holcomb said. “I did not like Lollapalooza because it felt like people would just shove their way through the crowd, even if you’ve been waiting in line… that did not feel as safe as if I’m going through a metal detector, and it’s like a big crowd and people maybe just got patted down a little bit. That makes me nervous because I’m always worried about gun violence.”

The fear of rude crowds and dangerous fans is especially prominent in outdoor venues. In the Bay Area, the indoor venues have proven to uphold stricter restrictions on being vaccinated, wearing masks, and items allowed into the venue. For example, the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View does require vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test, but has a much smaller list of banned items than indoor venues like Fox Theatre in Oakland or The Warfield in San Francisco. Also, the Shoreline Amphitheatre, and other outdoor venues, lack metal detectors that everyone must go through before entering indoor venues to add another level of safety and protection to these concerts. 

Even with these risks, the love and need for live music draws crowds. According to a survey of about 200 Sequoia students, 71 percent say they are fans of concerts, and about 40 percent plan on going to at least one concert this year. The energy that performers have and that radiate back at them from the crowd is special to live music, and as the audience, we are eager to get it back.

“I’m about safety but I also really want everything to start going back to normal. So I think that concerts [show] that we’re turning a page and we’re starting to do live events and I think it’s gonna be good.” sophomore Ella Satterwhite said. “I’m excited because it’s just gonna open the door for a lot of other things to do live and in person, and I know it’s gonna make a lot of people happy… I think it’s the start of something that’s going to be even better.”