What Will Touring Look Like Post-COVID and in 2021?

Many concerts and public events have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. Venues and musicians are thinking of new and creative ways to bring live music to fans safely. Photo by Cynda Allen.

With COVID-19 dominating most of 2020, and now 2021, lots of concerts and public events have been canceled or rescheduled. Not being able to tour, musicians both big and small have spent their free time creating and releasing new music. This brings forth one big question: when will they be able to play their new music in front of a live audience again?


It’s impossible to tell how much live music will change in the future, but it’s safe to say that things will look much different than they did before. Outdoor venues, drive-in shows, limited capacity, masks, temperature checks and social distancing could be the new normal for concert-goers.


While arena shows and giant festivals aren’t likely to make a comeback anytime soon, limited capacity shows could define touring in 2021. Shows with audiences as small as 10-20 listeners, who have to RSVP to attend, have already surfaced. This may not be ideal for individuals that prefer moshing inside of mosh pits, but it could add a more intimate feel to the show, creating an opportunity to bond with the artists.


Without a doubt, venues and musicians are going to go to great lengths to bring music outdoors as much as possible. Venues could start setting up shop in local parks or parking lots. Instead of concerts being limited to only the spring and the summer, these shows could last all year. 


One way, in which artists have attempted to perform live shows, is through drive-in concerts. Whether it is the artist or a live recording, fans can sing along to any musician from the comforts of their car. Many bands and musicians have done this including Aaron Lewis of Staind, Sully Erna of Godsmack, Metallica, Bush, Sublime and Third Eye Blind.


In places, like the US, where the pandemic has hit the hardest, restrictions like masks,  temperature checks and social distancing are going to be a big part of live music. This is one of the reasons shows will be small in 2021 compared to 2019. But while safety measures can be frustrating, creative musicians and venues will find innovative ways to put on incredible live music experiences safely.


Dylan Smith, a junior, believes that touring will change drastically. “I think touring post-COVID will be very different. [Venues] will most likely only let a few people in, and I bet tickets will be extremely expensive.” Smith continued, talking about the bands he would like to see once touring starts back up again. “I hope I have the opportunity to see Metallica and Slipknot again. I saw that System of a Down may be touring soon, so that would be awesome as well!”


Who knows what the future of concerts might look like. For now, the public can assume that major safety measures will be put into place. Not only that, but more shows will be held in outdoor venues rather than in indoor arenas.