Harry Styles, Shaky Knees mark return to live music


Archer Streelman

Shaky Knees took place Oct. 21 through 24. The festival featured artists such as Mac Demarco, Foo Fighters, Dominic Fike and Phoebe Bridgers.

Callan Cucchi

Bright lights, loud music, a packed crowd: all things you’re met with as you enter a concert venue.

Despite the year-long hiatus imposed by COVID-19, Atlanta marks Oct. 2021 by welcoming the return to live music.

During the pandemic, concerts and music festivals were put on hold in order to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

“I think it was smart to stop live concerts and festivals,” sophomore Delia Schroeder said. “The pandemic was and still is a very serious thing. When this started we knew very little about [Covid] and we didn’t have a vaccine. Festivals and concerts would have been super spreader events that would have put so many peoples lives at risk. The risks of keeping live events totally outweighed the benefits.”

To compensate, many artists performed via live stream. Virtual concerts became commonplace as artists attempted to remain connected to their fans.

“Using live streams to promote concerts for artists over the pandemic was a cool idea to try and keep the artist connected with fans,” senior Izzy Friedman said. “I went to some of them, and it was nice because the cost to attend was lower. I think the one downfall is you don’t get to experience the atmosphere of the crowd and everything else that makes a concert so fun.”

However, as restrictions begin to lift and vaccines become more widely available, live music has begun to return.

“Without live music, I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with myself because knowing you’re going to see your favorite artist perform music you love in front of you is such a privilege,” junior Izzy Neuman said. “Live music is such an amazing thing that allows everyone to express themselves in their own way, whether it’s the artists themselves singing their hearts out and having a blast on stage or the audience going all out with extravagant outfits and makeup and all that.”

Many Midtown students celebrated the return to live music by attending the Harry Styles Love On Tour concerts on Oct. 27 and 28.

“The [Harry Styles] concert was one of the first concerts I’ve been to after quarantine so it was even more special,” Friedman said. “Everyone was screaming his songs, and you could see how excited he and the band were to be performing in front of people again.”

Styles’ concert implemented many COVID-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of guests. The show required all attendees to either show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test prior to entry. Additionally, guests were asked to keep their masks on at all times.

“Covid guidelines were definitely enforced and followed at the show,” Neuman said. “Most people were wearing their masks throughout the show, and employees were kindly reminding everyone throughout the night. A recorded message of Harry came on a little before he came on stage and reminded everyone to keep their masks on to keep themselves and others safe.”

Shaky Knees, which occurred on Oct. 22 through 24, also allowed people to experience what it’s like to watch their favorite artists and feel the energy the crowd provides.

“I’ve listened to [my favorite artists’] music and watched their performances on YouTube, but seeing them in person was a totally different experience,” Schroeder said. “The other people there, like my friends and the rest of the crowd, made the whole experience really fun. Overall there was a super positive atmosphere.”

The festival also attempted to adhere to Covid guidelines by asking guests to present a vaccine card or negative Covid test upon entry. Unvaccinated guests were required to wear masks throughout the festival.

“I think they did a really good job of enforcing guidelines,” senior Avery Harlika said. “Vaccines were required and masks were encouraged, which was nice to see at an event with lots of people. At one concert I went to, the artist thanked the people attending for being vaccinated, wearing a mask or being tested before the concert.”

Though concerts may look slightly different in order to keep people safe, live music and the overall joy it brings has started its comeback.

“Seeing an artist live is a surreal experience,” Harlika said. “Usually I listen to music alone, so being able to interact with a large crowd of people while singing a song or getting to see the artist sing their songs themselves was something I really missed throughout the pandemic.”