The future of festivals

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By Oliver Van Aken

Flashing Lights// On Saturday, September 18th, Green Day was the closing act at Life is Beautiful. Fans from all over the world enjoyed their music, many of which were mask-free.(Photo by Oliver Van Aken)

As music fans across the world rejoice at the return of live music, one starts to fathom the inevitable consequences society will face as the pandemic continues. Although there are precautions music fans across all genres can take such as mask-wearing, limit sharing of food/drink, and especially getting vaccinated, there still are a lot of opportunities for Coronavirus to spread among the crowds. However, if concerts and festivals can maintain legal regulations and uphold moral obligations to an extent, should they be allowed to perform? What does that sound like for the music world?

“I’m very excited I can go to a concert or music festival again,” senior Zach Katz said. “It’s been a pretty decent time since I could experience that kind of stuff, and I’m glad I can once more before I leave high school.”

“Life is Beautiful” is a well-known music festival that also features art exhibits and comedy shows; also, the festival is hosted every year in Downtown Las Vegas. Vegas locals and tourists alike all make their way to the festival grounds every September to witness varying artists from LANY to Modest Mouse. However, after not being held in 2020, within the early days of the pandemic, due to concerns about Coronavirus, Life is Beautiful resurrected this year from Sept. 17th-19th. With that being said, masses of people, almost all of which were unmasked, returned to the festival to witness headliners Tame Impala, Green Day, and Billie Eilish. 

“My favorite concert at Life is Beautiful was Green Day,” senior Ava Azucenas said. “They’ve been one of my favorite bands for a long time and I love their lead singer.”

With droves of attendees coming into close proximity at the festival, Life is Beautiful Administration had to create a Health and Safety Code. The code states that all attendees must have documentation of their vaccination record on their person at all times. They market the most convenient way would be to download the “CLEAR” application on a mobile device, where an attendee can apply their vaccination card and ID in exchange for a virtual pass that allows quick entry. The “CLEAR” application is also being utilized for quick entry into events across the nation such as MLB and NFL games. Other viable documentation includes having a copy of a vaccination card, having the actual vaccination card itself on hand, or having a picture of the vaccination card saved on a mobile device. Attendees who are not vaccinated are required to provide proof of a negative PCR or Antigen Coronavirus test that was administered up to 72 hours before the festival. For vaccinated guests, mask-wearing is optional; however, unvaccinated guests are encouraged to wear masks at all times. 

“I didn’t really have an issue with Life is Beautiful’s health policies,” Senior Carly Broth said. “But I do question if their attempts at limiting Coronavirus were even efficient.”

Festivals yet to come, such as another Las Vegas Music Festival, “Day N Vegas”, have adopted similar health and safety policies with regards to vaccination status and mask-wearing. This displays how the future of festivals will be for the most part maskless, yet require vaccination records or a negative test. Possible spread of Coronavirus has not been reported yet from festivals such as Life is Beautiful; however, that doesn’t mean the virus or variants aren’t making their way past the gates and onto the stages. The only way to see whether or not music festivals have a place in an ongoing pandemic is to wait for either drastic or minimal results to come in.

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Oliver Van Aken is a Junior, and this is his 3rd year on “The Roar” staff. This is also his 2nd year being editor, this year he is Opinion Editor. Oliver loves writing features and opinion pieces, especially ones related to current events. In his spare time he enjoys gardening, yoga, reading, and finding new music. He also performs community service work through Young Men’s Service League. Oliver intends on finishing High School and going to college for a degree Journalism/Economics.