From the jump, 2021 has had a ‘2020 type beat’ feel to it. As long as COVID-19 continues to put our lives in danger, we’re advised by health officials to avoid engaging in high-risk activities. Which includes concerts and festivals. Multiple tours have been scheduled, postponed then canceled. In response, a lot of entertainers have arranged online events for fan engagement, such as streams of live performances and Instagram live Q&A’s. They miss performing and seeing their supporters just as much we miss the beauty and thrill of live music.
Live Concerts Make Us Feel Good!
You ever notice the boost of energy you get after leaving a concert? A study reported by the US News health informs us that a concert is a physically and emotionally rewarding stress reliever. Your heart rate and blood pressure decreases when you’re singing and dancing along to our favorite songs.
Additionally, the welcoming sense of community in the crowds of concerts and festivals contribute to the happiness you feel at a show. While you’re enjoying the music, you are sharing the love for the same artist with thousands of strangers. Spending $100s on a concert ticket isn’t absurd to us because this exhilarating and memorable experience outweighs any reason to stay home.
Leave ‘Em Feeling Inspired
The chance to engage face-to-face is gratifying for both the musician and fans. There is an immense amount of joy and warmth going through the body of a fan who is finally getting to see their greatest inspiration. Hearing that one song that helped them through a difficult time is a moment they will cherish forever. It feels amazing to leave a show having connected emotionally with the artist or band you went to see. This usually happens when they share a back stories to their songs and give heartfelt messages to their fans.
Authencity Of A J. Cole Concert
J.Cole’s 2018 KOD tour was sensational due to the vulnerability and transparency he brought to the stage. I had the pleasure of attending one of his Los Angeles shows at the Staples Center. Passion emanated from his performance of KOD , an album that explores “our ability to deal with pain.” Therefore, his setlist wasn’t full of meaningless songs. He told his story, shared his experiences and let us into his innermost thoughts. He delivered the lyrics in a way that proved he believed in every word. Undoubtedly, my support and respect for him grew that night.
The performance of “The Cut Off” was filled with so much raw emotion from J. Cole. Before starting the song, he shared a valuable lesson about removing yourself from stressful situations and experience more happiness. “The people that hold the ability to hurt you the absolute most…[are] the people that’s closest to you,” J. Cole asserted. He admitted to still learning this himself, it’s unfortunate, but it comes a time when you gotta learn just how to cut a motherf—– off.”
Certainly, the beginning of quarantine had everyone uneasy, at home with family getting a little bored. Timbaland and Swizz Beatz brought excitement to homes when they introduced Verzus to the world in March 2020. The first livestream was a friendly DJ/Producer battle between the two Grammy winning artists. They went back and forth playing their most notable and influential hits that highlight their career.
When asked about the meaning of Verzuz in an interview, Swizz Beatz stated that they developed this platform for “two artists to celebrate each other.” He continued by acknowledging that people are “…having fun giving the older artists their flowers.”
Enthusiastic fans and viewers have had positive responses to Verzuz every week. They show complete excitement and anticipation for each artist. The comment section is usually full of enthusiasm for the back to back throwback jams! Swizz Beatz shared that him and Timbaland’s “mission is to bring happiness…[and] help everybody get past this hard moment because we’re all being affected.”
Parking Lot Concert
The Parking Lot Concert series was developed in Atlanta this past summer to give people a live concert experience while adhering to the COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines. Hip-Hop and R&B fans were excited to have a place they could safely enjoy live shows again. The first show was on June 6. The performers have been mainly artists who are based in Atlanta. Some of them include 2 Chainz, Monica, Lloyd and Rick Ross.
In August, PLC series increased the size of their venue to practice safer physical distancing. This included an expansion of the parking lot, a new stage and giving guests two parking spaces rather than just one.
During the holiday season, PLC hosted a Christmas Giveback on December 22. At this event, they offered the community free COVID testing, free haircuts and free food! PLC plans on continuing their shows when the Atlanta weather warms up again.
Unfortunately, the year long excitement around Frank Ocean headlining Coachella Festival has been deflated. On January 29, it was announced that Coachella 2021 is cancelled. The Riverside County Health Officers made the call after alarming spikes in COVID-19 cases and deaths in California. This is the second year in a row that the pandemic has cancelled this highly anticipated event.
Every year, Coachella hosts 100,000s of guests. A significant number of these guests travel from out of state and internationally for the annual festival. As such a large-scale event, it would be virtually impossible to ensure everyone is prioritizing physical distancing. Nevertheless, it would be unfeasible to identify where any cases of the virus may have come from.
Fans were surely disappointed but definitely not surprised about these change of plans. We’ve all accepted the fact that it’ll be at least another few years until we experience another in-person show. Until then, we can all continue re-watching Beyonce’s Homecoming on Netflix!
Kehlani Working From Home
Since everyone is inside, artists have been virtually engaging with their fans more often. Instagram live has been a major avenue for celebrities and influencers to talk to their supporters, share music and life updates. Entertainers have become even more creative in navigating new ways to share their music and support their fans during this time.
Kehlani is one of the first artists to deliver musical content while in the beginning phases of quarantine. Her most recent album, It Was Good Until It Wasn’t , was released on May 8, 2020. She revealed that a majority of the album was recorded at home in her Los Angeles.
About two months before the album, Kehlani woke up the internet with the late night release of her “quarantine style” music video for her sultry single “Toxic”. After a few glasses of red wine, she used her laptop camera to record herself dancing in her dimly lit bedroom. Seductively looking into the camera as she sings, “that damn Don Julio made me a fool for you, I still hit your phone up with that ra-ra-ra.” This spontaneous use of makeshift lighting, angles and outfits resulted in a sexy masterpiece.
Along with her talented friend, Bri Alysse, they successfully filmed and edited five more “quarantine style” music videos.
Entertainment’s Essential Workers
Although we are missing out on going to concerts and festivals, it’s important to recognize how the pandemic has affected those who organize these events. In-person services provided by sound engineers, set designers, lighting technicians, vendors and tour bus drivers cannot be done from home. Consequently, these industry workers are losing the income they relied on to provide for themselves and their families. Since March 2020, there has been a notable increase in the entertainment industry unemployment rate. There was a reported 39.3% unemployment rate in the leisure and hospitality industry by April 2020. Within the first two months of the pandemic, there were over 65,000 UI claims from arts & entertainment industry workers in California.
Quarantine Concerts Prevail
We don’t know when filled up arena shows will become safe again. But, we do know we can utilize the technology we have to stay connected to the music we love and can’t live without. Instagram and YouTube are only a few online mediums we use to experience live music and the positive feelings and pleasure that come along with it.