NYT Poll: Most Epidemiologists Wouldn’t Attend A Concert For A Year Or More

Xavi Torrent/Redferns

NYT Poll: Most Epidemiologists Wouldn’t Attend A Concert For A Year Or More

Xavi Torrent/Redferns

When can concerts come back, and when will the concert experience return to normal? In the wake of COVID-19, there’s been plenty of confusion on that front. America’s first attempt at a socially distant concert looked bleak, and presumably Live Nation’s proposed reduced-capacity festivals will be similarly dystopian. Drive-in concerts are a deeply imperfect solution as well. But these kinds of adjustments seem to be all we can hope for in the short-term; at least one coronavirus expert predicted concerts won’t be back until fall 2021 at the earliest, and a recent poll found that a majority of Americans won’t attend a concert until there’s a vaccine. Now another poll has provided similarly discouraging conclusions.

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they personally expect to resume a range of activities, assuming the pandemic unfolds as they expect. More than half said they’d take an overnight vacation within driving distance this summer or see a doctor for a non-urgent appointment. Only 41% said they’d get a haircut this summer, and the same percentage said they’d wait three to 12 months to hike or picnic outside with friends. A majority said they’d wait three to 12 months to eat at a dine-in restaurant, work in a shared office, or send their kids to school, camp, or daycare, while a tiny 6% minority said they’d never again greet a friend by hugging or shaking hands. The strongest apparent consensus: 64% of respondents said they’d wait a year or more to attend a sporting event, concert or play. I guess they’ve never heard of these snazzy protective suits?

Artists such as the Weeknd and Rage Against The Machine have rescheduled their arena tours for summer 2021, a timeframe that falls just outside of that one-year range. It will be discouraging, but maybe not surprising, if the public still isn’t ready to flock to concerts again by then. And will spring festivals like SXSW and Coachella even continue to exist if they have to take off two years straight? Like droplets from an unmasked person, it’s all frustratingly up in the air right now.

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