Tens of thousands gathered in Miami to attend the famous music festival Rolling Loud during the weekend of July 23rd-25th. As the weekend wrapped up, the state of Florida saw a spike in COVID cases. Rolling Loud offered free vaccinations at pop-up shops. However, over 67,000 cases were reported just that week alone. Among those affected included rapper and performer Dess Dior. She tweeted to her followers that she tested positive and that those around her should also get tested.
Although Dess Dior was not in the crowd, she gathered around people backstage. It is also true that the audience was intensely compact and not socially distant. This begs the question: Should musicians be held responsible for performing at large events during a pandemic?
The first two waves of COVID-19 resulted in about nine million cases and over 220 thousand COVID-19 related deaths in the United States alone. Today, more than 35 million people are infected, and the death toll is now more than 600 thousand. With new variants emerging, cases will rise as we approach the cold in the flu session.With cases still rising, it is not a good idea to host large gatherings, let alone perform. After last year's lockdown, artists are eager to get back to touring and seeing their fans face-to-face. But with only 49.6% of the US population vaccinated, artists are putting themselves and their fans at risk.
I understand we want this pandemic to be over so that we can go back to normal. But, let's face it. This is our new normal. We can no longer hope that the virus will “go away” on its own. We have to take responsibility and think about how our actions affect those around us. Artists need to take it slow and not host events where large crowds are expected. Instead, musicians should perform virtually or in small venues, ensure the seating areas are socially distanced, and require masks from all attendees. If we start to think collectively instead of individually, we can begin to see progress and hopefully, fewer cases.