Patrick O’Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras
The many announcements for summer concerts was joy to the ears of fans chaffing under the Covid restrictions of the past two years. “Pent-up demand” is the term economists use to described the situation as dates are announced and tickets released to anxious buyers. On tap for the summer are Robert Plant, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Machine Gun Kelly, Alanis Morissette, Rosalía, Lady Gaga, Bad Bunny, and many more. Festivals include Glastonbury, Pitchfork, Hard Summer, Outside Lands in San Francisco, and the Primavera Sound Fest in LA, among many others around the world.
But as we are looking at the music offerings, we also learn that multiple versions of the omicron variant of Covid are spreading in the US and Mexico and other countries. The US seven-day average of daily new Covid cases ballooned above 100,000 in May and yesterday (June 25,2022), set a new record of 39,972 new cases in one day! Case numbers today are more than three times higher than this time a year ago. Scary
But we are all vaccinated now, so attending outdoor, or even indoor concerts should not be a problem, right? Maybe, maybe not. First of all, all of us are not vaccinated and the Mayo Clinic reports that the greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people. But even people who are fully vaccinated can get vaccine breakthrough infections and spread the virus to others, especially the new omicron variants.
So where does that leave the summer concert season? Medical experts have been telling the media that the more infectious subvariants of the omicron Covid-19 make the summer a little dicey with a surge in June, and then cases will begin to fall in July and August.
But artists and promoters are reacting now to positive covid tests received by artists. Chris Stapleton has postponed several shows after testing positive for Covid, the Rolling Stones postponed one show when Mic Jagger tested positive, Ringo Star has postponed the rest of his summer tour, the Doobie Brothers tested positive and are rescheduling, Camilo’s Mexico City concert was cancelled due to Covid ( we will see about the rest of the tour). Others on the cancellation or reschedule list are Eric Clapton, Pearl Jam, Jon Batiste, Avril Lavigne, Brandi Carlile, Elton John Adele and a dozen or so more.
So, should you buy those summer festival and concert tickets?
I think so, but there is a risk of cancellation, especially in June. Concerts and festivals in July and August might be safer in terms of not cancelling. Keep track of the Covid numbers – the CDC’s Covid Data Tracker at https://bit.ly/3bv3zfW gives immediate answers with one-click and if you see the cases start to spike in states where you want to attend music, you might want to hold back, or if you do buy tickets, make sure you keep your receipts and know how to claim a refund.
And keep track of the artists you want to see to learn if they are cancelling or rescheduling because of their own positive Covid test.
Most important, make sure your vaccination status is up to date, as promoters may start requiring proof of vaccination again. The Mayo Clinic says that while research suggests that COVID-19 vaccines are slightly less effective against the delta variant, many still appear to provide protection against severe COVID-19. But the Omicron variants now surfacing are a whole different animal (or virus).
The “New England Journal of Medicine” warns that current vaccines are relatively weak against the new omicron variants and that after two doses, vaccine effectiveness wanes rapidly, so promoters may ask for a vaccination proof within one week of the concert or festival. Who knows what the mask requirements may be, so keep that mask with the Joker Smile on it handy, just in case.
I think the music will go on, at least most of it, but stay alert, track your favs and and get your shots.
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