Bigger venues, better safety protocols, unparalleled fan enthusiasm:The return of the live concert

MCAI - 18 Dec 2021

With limited seating and stringent sanitisation protocols, live concerts are back in NCR, and the artistes, audience and organisers couldn’t be happier
NCR hosted its first concert in two years earlier this week, when Brown Munde fame AP Dhillon performed in Gurgaon to an enthusiastic audience, that included celebrities like Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh. In fact, concerts are making a slow comeback not just in NCR, but across the globe, with artistes like Alicia Keys slated to perform in Dubai and BTS in Los Angeles.
Though artistes had continued to entertain their audience via digital concerts during the pandemic, they share that people are elated to see them back on stage and in-person. At the same time, organisers too are breathing a sigh of relief, as the industry slowly gets back on its feet.
Big venues, 50% capacity, masks & sanitiser stations: Concerts resume with safety protocols in place
Ustad Shujaat Khan, who has a concert lined up in the second week of December in Goa, shares that they will be following all safety protocols at the upcoming concert. “These include masks, sanitisation stations, 50% capacity and spaced-out seating, says Shujaat, adding, “It is an intimate event at a big venue.” He continues, “Every industry is struggling to find new ways of doing what they do. Everyone is trying to find the safest and best way to work around this issue for their businesses, and concerts are no different.”

We are ready to host safe live experiences: Organisers
“The live entertainment industry was drastically affected by the pandemic, but as things come back to normal – and with vaccination drives on a large scale – I think we are ready to resume concerts,” says Rajiv Jain, director of an events management company, adding, “We have been contacting authorities to organise such events, with the right safety protocols in place to make sure that people have a safe experience.” Rajender Singh Pahl, president of an events management company, which has organised several concerts across the United States featuring Indian celebs, adds, “We saw many digital concerts amid the pandemic but those are not the future of live shows. The adrenaline rush that people get at a live show when they see their favourite artiste physically perform on stage is incomparable. However, some changes will have to be brought to the live events format, which the industry is ready for.”

Apart from concerts, music festivals too are expected to make a comeback. Recently, organisers of Sunburn announced that the festival would be returning after two years this month, however, they stated that the event will be toned down “under advice from the Government of Goa” and due to the pandemic. Instead of its previous mega scale, this one will be “a smaller, limited capacity” edition of the event.

‘People are excited to see their fave artists perform live again’
Jubin Nautiyal, who has also started performing at concerts, says that he expected people to be apprehensive, but is happy to see that fans are extremely excited to witness their favourite artistes perform live. “For two years, fans have seen their artistes perform on the screen, and they can’t wait to see them live again. The turnout is much bigger and people are coming with higher spirits and more energy. Even a two-hour concert is less for them, as they are sick and tired of being at home. I think the live music scene has restarted with a bang in India,” says Jubin.

However, the singer – whose two upcoming UK concerts have been postponed following recent restrictions by the UK government over the new omicron variant – shares that he and his team are following all COVID protocols at his concerts. “Safety protocols by the state and local authorities have been followed wherever I have played so far. Different states have different guidelines for concerts and also the number of people you can invite for shows. We did this massive concert in Assam recently, with speakers and big screens so that people could have a similar experience from a distance. This way, concert-goers could also maintain safe distance from each other, since not everyone can be near the stage,” he shares.

Upcoming big-ticket concerts across the world
Various artistes have shared their tour dates for 2021-2022. Many Indian and international celebs have performed at the ongoing expo in Dubai, while singer Alicia Keys is slated to perform at Al Wasl Plaza in December. South Korean boy band BTS will hold four Permission To Dance On Stage concerts at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on November 27-28 and December 1-2.

— With inputs from Niharika Lal


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