Festival-goers have recently been overwhelmed with a series of festival announcements, ranging from lineups, festival updates, and postponements. However, many of the events moving forward this year seem to be taking place on the same two weekends: August 27th – 29th and September 1st – 3rd. Although dance music lovers and concert-goers alike are excited to see the return of festivals, it seems most of them will be faced with a difficult decision.
Before the pandemic, dance music lovers would look forward to a series of music festivals happening within a months-long time period. Festival season typically consisted of a steady pace of events, spread out over months that spanned early spring through the fall. Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, which was canceled in February, is known as one of the major kickoffs of the annual season. Thanks to the variety of dates, it was possible for festival enthusiasts to attend multiple events within one season.
Unfortunately, it seems this year’s festival season will be taking place within a span of two weekends. Surely, no one would have expected a huge clash like this. Before COVID-19, the only kind of clash festival attendees faced was intertwined set times for their favorite artists. Now, festival-goers must choose which music festival they will attend for the short festival season. This would mean they’d be missing out on some other remarkable events within the dance music scene.
Festival Season Lineup
Let’s take a look at the festival dates that have been announced for 2021 (thus far):
- Creamfields: August 26th – August 29th
- Electric Zoo: September 3rd – 5th
- EDC Mexico: September 3rd – 5th
- Mysteryland: August 27th – August 29th
- ASOT: A State of Trance Festival 1000 Utrecht: September 3rd & 4th
- Tomorrowland: August 27th – August 29th & September 3rd – 5th
- Shambhala Music Festival: August 26th & 29th
- Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival: September 2nd – 5th
- ARC Music Festival: September 4th and 5th
With the same event dates, fans can predict the issues that can arise with so many big-name festivals planned on the same dates. Apart from attendees being forced to choose which festival is best for them, there are sure to be multiple overlapping performances from the same artists. This may lead performers to either play the same sets or cancel them entirely.
For some lineups, such as Creamfields and Tomorrowland, there are plenty of performers playing on the same dates. For example, Swedish DJ Eric Prydz was set to take his Halosphere set to the UK festival and the Belgium festival. However, a Redditor recently discovered the Creamfields removed the Halosphere set, giving fans the impression the techno artist won’t be taking his one-of-a-kind performance to the UK. Although no announcement has been made, fans on the Reddit thread predict this is due to the close performance dates and the amount of time and equipment it takes to create a production of this capacity.
Although events like Tomorrowland may not have an issue like this due to their stacked lineups, others such as Electric Zoo and EDC Mexico may see this kind of dilemma. Therefore, fans may see a lineup change or two before the performance list is solidified for the festivals.
Music festivals, such as Mysteryland and Shambhala have yet to release the lineup for 2021. Stay tuned for those future announcements. Travel is much less predictable than before COVID, so you can’t expect DJs to continent hop the way they used to. It’s more likely that you’ll see artists stick with the Americas or with Europe, but not both.
The United States continues to see progress within the current pandemic as the vaccine continues to roll out. Most event organizers in the states are choosing to move forward with their summer festivals after President Biden predicted enough vaccine for every American by May. Although things are looking up, U.S. travel restrictions still remain in place.
The most recent travel advisory requires travelers and U.S. citizens returning to the states to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding a flight home. Tests must be taken at least three dates before departure, which may prove to be an issue for delayed or missed flights. If departure dates are pushed, travelers must test negative for the coronavirus again before flying to the U.S. This travel requirement may make it difficult for American festival-goers to return home or outside attendees to enter the states.
On the other hand, Americans looking to attend festivals outside of the country may have trouble entering places such as Europe. On March 17th, the European Union banned foreign travelers to prevent the ongoing spread of the virus. There are plans for the restriction to end within the next thirty days, but the continued uncertainty doesn’t make this any less concerning. If the pandemic has taught the world anything, it is that nothing is ever concrete and everything is at risk to change.
COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more available in many parts of the world, but there is no guarantee that everyone will be vaccinated by August. The United States is currently vaccinating certain age and health groups and has vaccinated less than half the population. According to Bloomberg, if everything goes to plan, it’ll take at least 5 months to cover at least 75% of the population.
In Europe, the UK is leading the race in distributing the most vaccines – but it is also waiting longer to administer the second dose. Other countries in Europe are distributing fewer vaccines, but ensuring each person receives the two doses. Although some countries, such as Belgium, the UK, and Germany are seeing the most people vaccinating, there is still uncertainty as to when there will be enough to reach herd immunity.
The Covid-19 Pandemic
Although most festivals plan to take place within these two weekends, the question still remains as to whether the pandemic will be under control by the time. With COVID-19 variants continuing to spread across the world, some vaccines are unhelpful to combat them.
There is still uncertainty as to what the world will look like by the time August comes around. Recently, states in the U.S. have begun to lift mask mandates, such as Texas, Mississippi, Montana, and Iowa. This move goes against COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As mandates begin to ease, health experts are concerned the progress already made within the states will be erased.
Is Festival Season Taking Place Across Two Weekends… Realistic?
No, but it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The world continues to live in an unprecedented time where anything is possible. Although the unknown still remains, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. With the rollout of vaccines, the beginning of pre-covid normalcy lies just on the horizon. As to when it will happen, no one is sure yet.
Music festivals are sure to make their official return eventually. The United States is already seeing a potential return to “normal” (or, at least, the new normal) within the summer. Music festivals such as Sunset Music Festival and Ubbi Dubbi have already confirmed their return much sooner. Truthfully, anything is possible.