New Concert Safety Guidelines Won’t Allow Moshing or Crowdsurfing
When will concerts return, and what will they be like in the post-coronavirus era? We still can’t quite answer the former question, but we do have some intel on the latter: social distancing necessities will forbid moshing and crowd surfing.
This according to The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide, which is “a collective work by event industry professionals to help our peers who are planning to reopen during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.”
The guide warns that patrons will be resistant to new safety measures put in place at first, but will likely grow accustomed to them over time, likening wearing face masks and remaining socially distant to bag checks and metal detectors put in place after 9/11:
“At this early moment, there is as much resistance to face coverings and social distancing as there was to bag checks and magnetometers in the United States after 9/11. We got used to them, and most people came to accept that they were for our own safety. A cultural change is necessary again. Widespread messaging by venue and event professionals can accomplish two essential goals: (a) patrons will learn that the new rules are for their protection, which will eventually lead to greater compliance; and (b) transparently showing new sanitary practices will coax nervous people back into public places.”
One of the many stipulations included in the 29-page document is that “Patrons cannot all stand at the front of the stage like they are accustomed; moshing and crowd surfing are violations of social distancing per se and must be absolutely prohibited during this pandemic.”
It’s hard for me to imagine how any venue will be able to enforce this kind of rule; larger venues will find security suddenly having to combat a lot of fans, while smaller venues’ crowds will all be packed tightly together anyway (more on that in a moment). But even if we pretend that such regulations are easily enforceable, I have to imagine that at least some fans won’t wanna go to metal shows where they can’t mosh. Which is to say nothing of the fact that now metal vocalists will be forced to scream “LET’S CLOSE DOWN THIS PIT!” and “THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO STAND STILL AND STAY SIX FEET AWAY FROM EACH OTHER!”
Or maybe I’m wrong! Maybe the thrill of seeing live music again will be enough for people. I dunno. I’ll be curious to hear what the peanut gallery has to say about this. Meanwhile, it might actually be good news for delicate flowers like myself, who haven’t been in a pit in years, and always have to worry about getting jostled or flat-out knocked down by over-eager moshers. Here’s to tiny victories that effect very few of us! Huzzah!
To help keep people an appropriate distance apart in GA situations, the report suggests “High conspicuity gaff tape on the floor of an indoor space, or spray chalk, survey flags, and cones for outdoor spaces, to mark six foot (two meter) separation.” The guide also suggests that venue workers “patrol” the area to make sure patrons are complying. All of this strikes me a terrible staffing burden on small venues, where profit margins are already razor thin.
The guide also outlines precautions and procedures venue staff will need to take and carry out, including washing hands hourly, wearing masks 100% of the time, consistent sanitization of surfaces like door handles, faucets, trash bins, toilets, etc., temperature screening for every customer, staggered times for patrons entering the venue to avoid crowding, paid sick leave for all workers, and constant messaging of what fans should expect “in a word, everywhere,” so there are no surprises.
Most of the country is still months if not longer away from allowing concerts to take place at any meaningful scale, but Arkansas will host a “socially distant” concert on May 15, and live events are already allowed in Missouri outside of major cities.
You can download the full, 29-page Reopening Guide here.