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Students find alternatives to concerts canceled in 2020

J.I.D Dreamville
Dreamville Fest in Dorothea Dix Park on Saturday, April 6, 2019. This year saw many disappointing cancellations of such in-person concerts.

Many concert tours in 2020 ended before they could even start, causing music fans and many UNC students to miss out on seeing their favorite songs performed live. 

First-year Judy Williams was looking forward to seeing Harry Styles in the "Love On Tour," which was supposed to come to Raleigh in August but is now postponed until 2021.

“I've been to a few smaller concerts, but nothing like Harry Styles and other huge artists,” Williams said.

Williams said that at live performances, she gets to feel connected to an artist, compared to simply listening to their music on a phone or computer.

“I just love being able to hear them, hear what they have to say about their music and then hear the twists that they add to their music when they play live,” Williams said.

First-year Sesha Patel was also supposed to see Harry Styles in concert, as well as The Driver Era, an alternative music duo consisting of brothers Rocky and Ross Lynch.

“I just miss the whole atmosphere and the energy,” Patel said. “Everyone coming together and having a mutual love for this one artist.”

The Driver Era World Tour was supposed to begin in April but has since been postponed until 2021. However, many people are not sure when they will feel comfortable going to a concert again.

“I think it definitely depends on the size of the venue and what they're doing to be COVID cautious,” Williams said.

There are a lot of questions around when and if the concert industry will make a full return, with many people far from ready to attend such a large gathering.

“I'm definitely waiting for the vaccine,” UNC first-year Maddie Fan said. “But even then, I'm still worried because we really don’t know how effective it will be and everything like that.”

Fan is one of the many students who have found ways to enjoy concerts while still preventing the spread of COVID-19. In September, Fan attended a drive-in concert of Quinn XCII at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Fan said the concert functioned similar to a drive-in movie, where attendees could enjoy the show from the comfort of their cars. The cars were spaced apart and masks were required any time a person left their vehicle.

“It was really nice because we haven't been able to do much since everything's been canceled, so it was nice to have an event that was fun but also conscious about coronavirus,” Fan said.

Other artists have been experimenting with virtual ways to perform their music live for fans from their homes. Virtual performances, however, will never be able to replace the high demand for seeing artists and hearing their music live.

“When I went to the drive-in, we all had to stay apart from each other,” Fan said. “But with real concerts, you're in the pit with everybody around you, and you’re hyped up as you all listen to the music you love.”


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