Music lovers can buy tickets to see their favourite artists live for the first time since in-person concerts were put on hiatus due to the pandemic last year.
Ontario announced last month that concert venues, stadiums and theatres can increase to full capacity attendance for fully vaccinated people.
Major artists like Justin Bieber, Giveon, and Bleachers have set new tour dates and are hitting stages across Canada with many fans excited to attend their in-person performances.
Daria Romanoff, a fifth-year arts and contemporary studies student at Ryerson University, says she takes every opportunity to attend live shows and theatre. It’s a special experience, she says, to be able to see shows with her friends and fellow fans.
“Some artists I’ve seen multiple times and it’s kind of like seeing their journey,” said Romanoff. “[Plus] I have this special experience to see them perform live.”
She is most looking forward to seeing Roosevelt, a German singer who performs synth-pop music and is one of her favourite artists.
During the pandemic, artists and venues, including the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, organized livestreams so people could COVID-19 precautions and still listen live. However, those were soon restricted by the Ontario government.
Madelyn Gragasin, a fourth-year creative industries student, is concerned about how wearing face masks will impact the concert experience
One of the things that makes a concert experience more fun is getting to shout lyrics along with the music, she says. But with mask requirements put in place, concertgoers are going to have to be more mindful.
“I guess you can’t really predict what’s going to happen in the next six months or so because [the COVID-19] situation is always changing,” said Gragasin.
She scored tickets to see BROCKHAMPTON early next year: the first live show she plans to attend. She’s most looking forward to sharing the experience with her sister in a venue again.
“It’s one thing to look at a picture of a beach or a statue, but it’s like a completely different thing to see it in person,” said Gragasin. “I just want to be there in the moment and enjoy it.”
She says the opportunity to put together an outfit and wait in line for new merchandise to add to her collection is one aspect of concert going that doesn’t translate well virtually.
Similarly, the live show experience for musicians is an opportunity to connect with fans through their music and create memories that live streaming just can’t replicate.
Gabrysia Kowalik, a fourth-year music student at York University, says navigating COVID-19 restrictions as both a performer and concert-goer will be tough, but worth it for the love of music.
Kowalik says live performances provide a space for musicians to display to their fans how invested they are in their art and move people emotionally through performance.
When Kowalik performed at her pre-pandemic recitals, singing classical music, she bonded with audience members after the show who expressed how her performance affected them on a personal level.
“Performance is extremely therapeutic for anybody, even if you are a musician or not,” says Kowalik. “By having the crowd around you, you feel this type of presence that you are all here together to love and respect music.”