7 indoor concert safety tips to help you put on a safe show

Hosting a concert? Check out these ideas for making your indoor music event as COVID-safe as possible in these pandemic times.

Now that the summer festival season has ended – in the northern hemisphere at least – so will most outside concerts. Unfortunately the pandemic isn’t over, and outdoor events are considered safer than indoor crowds.

But there are ways to make your indoor concert COVID-safe. Whether you’re hosting a festival in several venues across town or a gig in your living room, check out the suggestions for hosting a safe indoor concert we’ve gathered below.


Open some windows

Make sure the venue is well ventilated. Opening windows and doors helps keep airflow moving through, spreading out any virus particles.


Limit numbers

Keeping the concert small lessens the amount of contact between different households. Equally, you could choose a larger venue – a bigger venue means better ventilation.

If possible, hosting two concerts would be safer than one with the same amount of audience members.


Ask for proof of a negative COVID test at the gig

COVID passports are a touchy subject, but consider requesting everyone attending takes a COVID test on the day – band and all – to help reassure concert-goers that everyone is staying safe. Temperature checks on the door are another possible measure.

On a similar theme, you could make the concert only open to vaccinated attendees. That’s a move guaranteed to ruffle some feathers – but it’s your show, and you call the shots. (Pun intended.)


Switch to a seated show

If you’re worried about close contact in a crowd, consider making the gig a seated show. The less people moving around the room passing each other in close proximity, the better. Make sure there’s also visible directions and signs around the venue to help everyone social distance on their way to the bar or bathroom.

Alternatively, you could make like Flaming Lips and put everyone (including the band) in Zorb-like inflatable balls.


Face mask requirements in the audience

You can either insist on masks at your show or state that face masks are preferred, which leaves it up to the audience to decide. If you’re asking people to mask up, you could also ban food and beverages in the crowd, removing the excuse of taking off face coverings during the set.


Wash those hands

We’re all well used to hand sanitiser now. Make sure there’s plenty available around the venue, especially near touchpoints like doors and the all-important bar area. Check that the venue is cleaned regularly.


Be flexible

Keep an eye on the changing situation and be ready to impose or relax restrictions depending on coronavirus cases in your area and new variants. Have some backup plans in place like switching to a seated event or having an extra matinee show planned to spread out audience numbers.


No indoor event is free of risk, but putting at least some measures in place will reassure your audience and help to keep everyone safe from coronavirus. That way, everyone can relax and enjoy the music.

Are vaccine passports the future of live music? Gigs are returning but with conditions

Vaccine passports, negative lateral flow tests, temperature checks on the door; concerts are coming back but we haven’t left the COVID-19 pandemic behind just yet.

As live music returns after what feels like forever, the industry is discovering how to make it work in a post-pandemic world. A year of lockdowns have devastated the music industry which relies so heavily on live concerts for income. Venues, managers, roadies, and of course the artists themselves have faced a struggle like never before. Whilst more time at home has given listeners the opportunity to stream music more than ever, giving artists and labels a much needed boost, the effects of a near-total end to live music has been huge.

However, the sun is appearing behind the clouds and vaccine roll outs are helping bring about the return of the experiences that we’ve missed so much in the last year and a half. No matter how excited we may be getting about all of the upcoming gigs and the festivals which have helped to reinvigorate our Summer, we have to remember that we’re not out of the woods just yet.

What will be required to go to events now?

Live Nation and AEG have both recently announced the upcoming requirements to attend any of their festivals or event at their venues. They will require event-goers to show proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID, or alternatively they can show proof that they’ve tested negative within 72 hours leading up to the event.

Live Nation intends on implementing their requirements from October 4th whilst AEG will be putting the rules in place a little earlier on October 1st. Live Nation’s president, Michael Rapino confirmed that the requirements won’t necessarily be enforced at third-party venues where they’re promoting, saying that they “can only commit to what we control right now”.

There is no blanket rule for what live events should be doing and it of course varies from location to location and depending on the size of concerts. For example, the requirements for a local band playing at a bar is going to be different to a stadium gig on an international tour or the management of a festival that sees thousands mixing and camping together for multiple days.

Ultimately it is up to each individual event organiser how they intend to approach the allowance of attendees and whether they put any requirements in place to attend. Vaccine proof and negative tests are becoming a standard but there are a number of organisers who are not putting any restrictions in place, particularly at smaller venues with quieter gigs.

Do vaccine checks and negative test results really stop the spread at events?

When Live Nation announced their upcoming admission requirements, they touted the success of the recent Lollapalooza festival as informing their decision. The world-renowned festival went ahead for it’s 30th anniversary with strict enforcement of point of entry checks in place, demanding that each attendee showed proof of a negative test or vaccination.

Nicole Haiimpoor, writing for Digital Music News, said: “Leading up to the festival, people were wary if there would be an actual check or not. As I attended the festival myself, I witnessed people getting turned away from the gates multiple times if they did not have the proper documents.”

With hundreds of thousands of attendees mixing in tents across four-days, the potential for spread was huge. In the ten days after the festival, Chicago health officials reported only 203 cases of COVID-19 that they reckoned to be linked to the event. Considering its size, that is considerably low and not what we would call a “superspreader event”. In other words, a success and testament to rigorous checks.

That’s not to say that checks are the b-all and end-all, allowing us an assured safe return to events. The recent seaside festival Boardmasters in Cornwall had demanded proof of vaccination or negative tests upon entry in hopes to prevent spread of the virus. The festival saw considerably less traffic than Lollapalooza with roughly 50,000 attendees but reports suggest that nearly 5,000 cases of COVID may be linked to the event.

Whether Boardmasters was as rigorous in their checks as Lollapalooza, we can’t know. However, it is evidence that putting these checks in place is not a definitive solution to stopping the spread. The success of Lollapalooza shows that it can work and ultimately, if we want live events to return then we have to be willing to risk some spread. Vaccine proof and negative tests are probably the best solution to managing the spread until we’re in a more comfortable place with the virus.

I for one am thrilled to see the return of live music and believe that if we all act as honestly as we can in what events are asking of us, then we have the most reasonable route to bringing back the entertainment that we love so much in-person.

Tips for returning to playing live music from Spotify for Artists

Image Credit: Spotify

As part of Spotify’s Back to Live initiative, check out these tips and tricks for getting back to playing live shows after pandemic restrictions lift.

As pandemic restrictions ease, transition from avoiding live shows to playing concerts again doesn’t have to be a rocky one for artists. Spotify has offered some wise advice for how artists can use the existing tools from Spotify for Artists to promote their shows and return to playing live with a (safe) bang.

We’ve gathered a few highlights from their tips and tricks below.


Map out a plan

Artists can use Spotify for Artists’ Top Cities to help map out the locations where they’re going to tour, so they can jump back on the road as soon as they’re ready and the world is able to hear them again.

The data from Top Cities can also help artists to see which songs would be the most popular on a setlist, based on who listens to which songs where.


Update Artist Pick
Image Credit: Spotify

Artists can use their profile to promote upcoming shows as concerts start getting booked into their newly relaunched schedule. Spotify advises choosing an Artist Pick that includes tour dates, a custom playlist, or image of the setlist of that long awaited first gig.


Use Canvas

Spotify suggests that artists change their Spotify Canvases to show highlights of previous tours as a way to remind fans of how fantastic watching live music can be.

The looping visuals can be shared outside of Spotify to reel in Instagram Story watchers, drawing them to the music and the fact that the artist is finally going back on tour.


Remember merch

Feeling out of touch with what merch sells well on tour? Spotify for Artist data can help artists work out what merch would be best to bring along to sell at specific shows, based on factors like the location of fans who have bought the most items in the past.


Spotify for Artists has also made some changes and rolled out new tools to help artists get back on the road as restrictions ease – check them out here.


To get access to Spotify for Artists, make sure you select Spotify when you upload your music for free with RouteNote. Not signed up with RouteNote? Find out how we can get your music heard around the world, and help you make money from your music.

Get back to playing live shows again with new tools from Spotify for Artists

Image Credit: Spotify

Spotify’s Back to Live initiative aims to give artists the tools they need to safely and successfully return to playing live music after pandemic restrictions lift.

Spotify for Artists has announced some useful tools to help artists booking shows again in 2021. When COVID-19 shut down music venues, artists around the world lost not only a vital source of income but an important in-person link to their fans. Now, in places like the US and UK, things are starting to open up again.

Artists are beginning to book and play shows for the first time in a year and a half. Some are raring to go whilst other artists are more nervous about going back to playing gigs. Will anyone show up? Will too many people show up?

Recognising this, Spotify has announced the roll out of tools and resources to help artists safely get back into the swing of playing live. Check out some of the new Spotify for Artists features below.


Concerts Hub

Spotify is moving the Concerts Hub to the Home screen of the platform to put shows centre-stage. Here users can find personalised concert information by location and their most-listened to artists.

In-app messaging will also guide users to the Hub for extra promotion of gigs.


COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness Program

A big source of worry around playing live again is safety at venues, for both artists and fans. Spotify says it’s working to share accurate information around vaccines to try and combat vaccine hesitancy through education. That includes in-app notifications and billboards.


Promo Cards
Image Credit: Spotify

Promo Cards can now be used to advertise tours and show where artists are playing next. Artists can select “Live show” as a focus and download a Live Promo Card to share on their socials, to let everyone know they’re back on the road.


Co.Lab event series, videos, podcasts

A Back to Live Col.Lab event series is due to launch this summer, highlighting the experience of touring artists as they resume life on the road. There’ll be advice on Spotify’s social media and blog too.

The Co.Lab events from Spotify for Artists generally focus on artists networking and sharing advice with each other, as well as getting career advice from industry experts.


Fans First
Image Credit: Spotify

Since 2017 marketing program Fans First has let artists connect to their most dedicated Spotify fans, alerting them to unique offers like presales and merchandise.

After pausing last March, Fans First returned in June 2021 and, anticipating a rush of pent-up demand, will expand to run 35% more pre-sale campaigns than back in the “normal times” of 2019.


More resources will be launched over the next few months. The extra effort by Spotify into promoting live performances and reassuring fans that it’s safe to return to concerts will hopefully make the transition into playing shows less stressful for everyone involved, so artists and fans can focus on getting hyped for the return to live.

Itching to play live music again? Check out our tips for booking a gig here.

How to set up a music livestream

Need some livestreaming tips? Check out our advice for how to do a livestream performance successfully.

Thinking of going live and playing some music online to a virtual audience? Luckily, you don’t need complicated equipment to perform a livestream gig.

To set up a music livestream, at the very basic level all you need is a device to stream from like a smartphone or a computer. Find a place to set up free from outside distractions, where you’ll get the clearest sound and video quality possible.

Whether you’re playing a live producer set to a ticketed audience or just going live on Instagram at home for some on-the-fly publicity, aim for as professional a performance as possible. Even though you might feel like you’re just playing to your own reflection, it’s still a public gig. Think about how your surroundings will appear to viewers onscreen – things like lighting and backdrop are more important than you’d think.

Look into using some free broadcast software, like OBS Studio, which will help you get organised and set up easily and let you stream on social media in high quality. That’ll help you beat the inevitable lag in streaming, because even if you have the speediest connection going, there’s inevitably going to be some technical hiccups – try and embrace them as part of the intimate experience for your watching audience.

Playing to a livestream audience as a substitute for a live gig? If you plan on playing a lot more live streams in the future, it’s worth investing in some decent kit – a microphone and audio interface, and a good webcam.

Don’t forget to promote your music live stream before the event, just as you would an in-person gig, so you have a guaranteed audience. Post across your social media platforms in the run up to the stream, but try not to stress too much about how many people will tune in.

Check out 10 more tips for livestreaming your gig here.

Spotify may start putting on concerts: Here’s why they could be perfect

Image credit: Sebastian Ervi

With new rumours suggesting that Spotify are looking at getting into live music, Spotify could well pave the way for a new way for artists to gig around the world.

Spotify‘s artist platform Spotify for Artists has offered artists an insight into where they can find their top fans for years. From the Audience section of Spotify’s analytics platform, artists can take a deep dive into exactly who their fans are as well as where new listeners are coming from. This isn’t just interesting, it is potentially game-changing information for artists, their managers, and labels.

Spotify is one of the biggest sources of music listening in the entire world. These statistics offer artists one of the broadest and accurate insights into who their audience is. This is such incredible information as it empowers artists and their teams with some of the most vital data needed for where to promote and more importantly; where to play live!

Which brings us to the latest news, a report suggesting that Spotify want to start putting on their very own concerts. A new article from The Information suggests that the music streaming service is looking into virtual and live concerts. If the rumours are true, it makes so much sense for them to pursue it.

Spotify have long hosted a Concerts section on artist pages where they can feature their upcoming events. This was even built to show users specifically when artists they like were playing near them. Combined with their analytics showing hotspots of artist’s audiences, Spotify have the toolset to find the best places to play, market them to specific audiences, and even offer tickets all through their existing platform.

Whilst it seems that any plans at the moment may be one off virtual concerts, like their pre-recorded shows earlier this year with The Black Keys and Leon Bridges. According to The Information, the response to those events ‘validated’ their decision to look into events moreso. The potential for Spotify concerts in a post-COVID world is, I truly believe, huge.

UK live music Covid research events results compromised by lack of testing

The UK Government has revealed the results of its Covid pilot events – after being sued by the music industry for withholding information – but a lack of post-event testing might make the results redundant.

Results of the UK government’s Events Research Programme, aimed at helping live entertainment to restart, have revealed there were “no substantial outbreaks” as a result of the test events in April and May.

The events, which included the BRIT Awards and festivals and club nights in Liverpool, hosted 58,000 people in total. Only 28 positive cases were confirmed – 11 were potentially infectious at the events and 17 potentially before or after. There might well, however, be reason to take the data with quite a big pinch of salt. That’s because only 15% of people completed PCR tests before and after the events, with 28% taking a post-event test.

Whilst every ticket holder had to take a rapid lateral flow test to gain entry, PCR tests are widely considered to be more accurate. You’d be forgiven for thinking: “Well, what was the point in that, then?”

The other evidence gathered confirmed acknowledged hypotheses; open-air events offer a safer alternative to indoor, and pinch points like toilet facilities and public transport pose a risk. There was, encouragingly, no increase in infection in the wider community.

Before the results were published, there had been an outcry over the government’s hesitancy to reveal the data. Theatre companies and the live music industry body LIVE launched legal proceedings against the UK government. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber had been among the most vocal calling for the government to be sued for withholding potentially vital data for the reopening of the live entertainment sector, after initial press reports appeared to prove that live events were safe.

The now-released Events Research Programme report only covers the first nine events, and doesn’t yet take into account the recent Download Festival pilot. Given the fact that artists waived their fees to perform at Download, eager to help to reopen the sector, hopefully the next batch of results will be revealed in time to help other events take place this summer.

Latitude Festival meanwhile is taking place as a full-capacity test event next month, having requested to take part in the research to ensure the event could go ahead. Sheffield’s Tramlines festival has been confirmed as another pilot event for 23-25 July. The final stage of the UK government’s roadmap of lifting restrictions is 19 July.

Questions have been asked about how information gathered from the Latitude pilot will help give confidence to the rest of this summer’s festivals, as it comes during the middle of the festival season and after lockdown is due to be lifted.

UK festivals such as Truck and WOMAD have been the latest to announce the cancellation of this year’s events, citing lack of certainty around Covid-related insurance as a major factor.

British band Easy Life to host a virtual event in Fortnite

Image credit: Epic Games

Easy Life get the virtual treatment as they perform a virtual show in Fortnite.

The British alt-pop band Easy Life has recently announced that they will be headlining a virtual concert on the 24th of June via the battle-royal game, Fortnite. The performance will be held in a virtual recreation of London’s o2 Arena, a first for the iconic venue. Easy Life is also the first UK band to perform via Fortnite Creative, a space introduced during Season 7 of the game’s live service battle pass.

The virtual event is in partnership with Epic Games, O2, Globe (which is Universal Music UK’s Commercial and Creative division), and Island Records UK.

The press release explains that it will be “much more than just a gig” and will see the band’s music and lyrics “influencing the world around players” during the performance. Attendees will be able to virtually visit six areas, each inspired by a track from the band’s debut album ‘Life’s A Beach’, which was no.2 in the UK charts last month. There is also a brand new, in-game lobby track that anyone can unlock and listen to within Fortnite after attending the experience.

Speaking on the experience Louis Bloom, President of Island Records UK, said: “This amazing partnership could not have come at a better time for easy life and everyone at Island following the great launch of life’s a beach. It has been a fantastic opportunity to collaborate alongside O2 – a massive player within the UK music scene now – Epic Games and of course our wonderful Universal Music Group colleagues at Globe who have pulled this whole initiative together.” Adding: “The band and their close-knit creative team have delivered something truly special and groundbreaking that is sure to capture the hearts and imagination of the millions of Fortnite players who may not have heard or seen easy life before. For Island to be working so closely with Globe to make easy life the first-ever UK act to play a concert within Fortnite Creative is hugely exciting!”

As the pandemic continues to make the return of live music uncertain, virtual shows are becoming a beacon of hope. A place to experience live music, albeit virtually. There is no doubt that we will see more acts enter the digital realm as time goes on. We’ve already seen the likes of Post Malone and Royal Blood hit the virtual stage, it may not be the same as in-person but the response was positive, not to mention both artists reaching new audiences.

Download Festival 2021 going ahead as Pilot event

Image Credit: Download Festival

After being cancelled in March, Download Festival is back on – as a government pilot festival to monitor Covid-19 transmission.

Moshing is back. In March, Download Festival announced that it was calling off this summer’s event, another musical casualty of the ongoing pandemic. The festival’s 4-6 June scheduling meant it would have taken place too early for the next stage of lifting the UK lockdown due on 21 June. But festival-goers can now rejoice – Download is back on, except this year as a trial to monitor the spread of coronavirus at large-scale events.

With a reduced capacity of 10,000, the one-off Download Pilot could well be the planned 10,000-capacity trial festival with camping which was announced by the UK government last month as part of its Event Research Programme. In a normal year, Download Festival usually has room for 111,000 people.

https://twitter.com/DownloadFest/status/1400406921153105922

The significantly reduced capacity allows for revellers to be tested for Covid before entry. Ticket holders will need to take a lateral flow test at home, and take a PCR test beforehand too, but will be refunded if the result is positive. Five days after the festival, another PCR test will need to be returned to complete the research.

All the scientific hoop-jumping means that festival-goers can act like any other year at Download – camping, hugging, and of course moshing, all without wearing masks. The second phase of the government’s research programme comes after the news that the previous pilot events, including a day festival in Liverpool, returned no detectable spread of coronavirus. Only 15 people tested positive for Covid-19 out of 58,000 at the series of pilot events in May.

Download Pilot will take place at the festival’s usual home of Donnington Bridge from 18-20 June. Artists booked to perform include headliners Enter Shikari, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and Bullet For My Valentine. Tickets went on sale today, Thursday 3 June.

Live Nation has already booked more concerts for next year than it did in all of 2019

Image credit: Kieran Webber

Although 2021’s live music prospects hang in the balance Live Nation are confident that 2022 will be an explosive year.

According to reports, the massive booking agent Live Nation has booked nearly double the number of shows for 2022 than it did in all of 2019. 

Among music fans, there is a lot of pent-up demand which is clearly replicated by the artists too who are looking to replace lost income. Not to mention wanting to experience the magic of live music. As 2021 is uncertain, most artists are looking to 2022 as the year that the live music industry finally returns in full form. 

However, with this many tours from bigger artists planned for 2022 it may have a negative effect on smaller shows.

Speaking about the intensity of their schedule for 2022 Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said: “Around the world, people are showing the need to get out and socialize once again which reinforces our expectation that a return to concerts will be the logical progression as vaccines are readily available to everyone who wants to get one.” He adds: “This is generally already the case in the U.S. where we are confidently planning our reopenings, particularly for outdoor shows, and we expect many of our other major markets will follow this summer.”

Rapino also commented: “We are already seeing confirmed major tour dates for 2022 up double digits from the same time pre-pandemic in 2019 for 2020. Many of these artists will have multi-year tours, spanning the U.S., Europe and often either Asia or Latin America, setting us up for a strong multi-year growth run.”