Music festivals–where would we be without them? Oh wait, we’re here…without them now. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic making the environment utterly useless for our beloved events, here is a look as to what its future might be like.

Already, we see high ticket prices and high drink prices inside the venue. What happens to live events with a pandemic? Decreased capacity, stringent sanitation policies upon entry, remarkably even higher ticket and drink prices. Solution? Artists could play for less money to offset the costs, but that’s not happening.

What Has Happened

There is a metamorphosis happening to the industry of live music, independent artists, festivals, and venues. Former co-founder of Lollapalooza, Marc Geiger, had the following to say about concerts or festivals not returning until 2022.

“My guess is late ’21, more likely ’22. In my humble opinion, it’s going to be ’22. It’s going to take that long before what I call the ‘germaphobia economy’ to be slowly killed off and be replaced by what I call the ‘claustrophobia economy.’”

Here’s What We’re Looking At

Let’s remember that even though we may not think this is a big deal, festivals hold thousands upon thousands of people. That is an enormous liability and there is no event insurance provider willing to underwrite those costs during an uncontrolled pandemic.

Some states do not trust operations to return to normalcy until a vaccine is made. That could take a year at least, and who wants to be the first to try an experimental drug at that. Even with a vaccine, venues and event organizers will still need to cut their capacity levels as a safeguard. What’s more, is that proof of vaccinations and legal waivers of liability could be required upon entry. Now, you really will have to party at your own risk.

What A Music Festival Takes

Tickets, concessions, and sponsorship compromise the three revenue sources for festivals. Venue rental, staging, production, marketing, restrooms, ticket fees, insurance, taxes, and city fees rack up the ticket prices. Tack on food, beverage, merchandise, and other accommodations (if it’s a camping festival) and you’re looking at a savings account just for your fun.

Music festivals have already broken our banks, but it looks like they might just be reserved for the wealthy at some point. Layaway plans could help, but for how long? We aren’t writing this to bring attention to an impending depression. We merely want to keep things out in the open and prepare for the worst.