Stage AE holds back-to-back COVID-safe shows

Pandemic changes many things, including live entertainment



Concert atmospheres have proved to be less rowdy than they were before the emergence of the COVID-19 virus.

Charlize Harding, Staff Writer

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, most everyone has been affected. This particularly includes members of the music industry. For many artists, touring is an important aspect of their career and has been significantly affected by COVID-19.   

Some artists who continued to perform during the COVID-19 pandemic include Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Elton John and Clairo. Services used by artists to share their online concerts with fans include Veeps, Instagram and YouTube streams.   

Moreover, many artists who performed virtually through Veeps gave their proceeds to COVID-19 relief programs as well as to the crew who had been out of work and had not been earning any income.  

Kiley Williams, a freshman biology major, attended her first concert on Feb. 13 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh to see indie-pop artist Still Woozy.  

Doubtlessly, concerts have changed throughout the pandemic, but for someone who had never been to a pre-COVID-19 concert, Williams said that she imagines that before the virus, there was probably less of a wait to get into the concert and that more people were there.   

Although almost two years into the pandemic, Williams was still surprised by the concert protocol. “They were checking vaccine cards and there was a really long wait to even get in,” Williams said. 

She also said that the long line made for a pretty dangerous situation, as it was extremely cold outside and many sketchy people came up to talk to the groups of young girls. 

Williams predicts that soon, negative COVID-19 tests and vaccinations probably won’t be required, because she said concerts are a business, and as the pandemic slows down, some artists and venues might not find it necessary.   

On Valentine’s Day, I attended a Louis Tomlinson concert at the same Pittsburgh venue. Having been to other concerts before the pandemic, I noticed a significant difference. The wait in line was much longer; in the past my wait in line has been at most 30 minutes. But at this concert, my wait was an hour and 30 minutes.   

Security did a check of vaccination cards and proof of a negative COVID-19 test from the previous 72 hours along with an ID verification. The check of the vaccine cards was thorough, as multiple fake cards were given to them. 

One thing that I noticed that was very different from past concerts is that security handed out water bottles to anyone who wanted one on the floor. In fact, they insisted on people taking them. Throughout the concert, security constantly handed them out to anyone who asked.   

This is most likely due to increased concern for concert-goers’ well-being while at the show in the aftermath of the AstroFest tragedy.  

In the wake of this crowd-control disaster, where fan were gasping for air and trampled, eight fans ended up dead, despite their cries out to Travis Scott and festival security and staff. 

Williams had mentioned that during her concert, not many water bottles were handed out, as it seemed to have not been as much of a pressing issue at that particular show. 

During one of the opening acts for Still Woozy, Wallice, one girl on the floor looked as though she was not feeling well. The bassist noticed this and stopped playing, asking the girl if she was OK.   

At both concerts, masks were strongly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status. However, it was not enforced. Employees had to wear masks throughout the duration of the concert, but audience members could choose whether or not they wanted to wear a mask. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coachella — the popular concert event of the year in Palm Springs, Calif. — has been canceled for the past two years, but this year it will be held at the Empire Polo Club in California.  

According to Coachella’s webpage, there are no plans for vaccination checks, negative test requirements or masks required for entry, but this is subject to change.  


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