Dance music fans who have been raving to virtual festivals from home ought to take a moment to check out how America’s first socially distanced concert went on Monday. It featured country musician Travis McCready, at TempleLive in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The event gave a glimpse into how dance music events will probably look as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Simply put: nothing close to their former glory.
Capacity for the Bishop Gunn singer’s show was restricted from 1,000 people down to 200. Unsurprisingly, face masks were required and attendees had their temperatures scanned before entering. The six-feet-apart rule was enforced among show-goers through group seating or tape. All that amounted to a sparse-looking concert experience, as social media posts showed. Even restrooms were capped at 10 people at a time, and drinks had to be prepackaged or lidded.
For the dance music scene, that suggests that shows may feel rather empty, similar to arriving super early. Dance music revolves around the experience of being in a venue packed with fellow enthusiasts. Floor tickets are often preferred over seated areas to allow for moving around and getting lost in the crowd. Unfortunately, getting back to normal is shaping up to be in the distant rather than near future.
No dance music events are planned at U.S. concert halls as of yet. Earlier this month, Missouri’s governor issued guidelines allowing for concerts with social distancing requirements. But many city officials refused to lift bans.
Meanwhile, drive-in raves are officially coming to the US. Trap DJ Carnage took a page from Germany and Denmark and is holding the very first ‘ROAD RAVE’ shows near Phoenix on May 30 and in Orlando on June 6. Capacity will be capped at 500 vehicles, with two to six people each. Will fans be able to get out of their cars?
“You will have a parking space in which you can get out and stretch your legs as well as use the restroom,” the frequently asked questions section states. “You must, however, enjoy the show from your space and we strongly encourage you remain within your vehicle.”
It remains to be seen if fans will follow the rules, especially while drinking and turning up, and what will happen if they don’t. For the dance music community’s sake, let’s hope all goes smoothly at both the drive-in and concert venue shows. A socially distanced dance floor is better than no dance floor.