Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been plenty to be concerned about from personal health to financial health to everything in between.

Me? I’ve been stressed out, sure, but I’m testing the waters and trying to get back to my regular activities pre-pandemic. As such, I’ve been sitting around with my fingers crossed that I would get to resume one of my favorite pastimes – attending live concerts – in 2020.

As the stay-at-home orders then phased reopening plans were put in place, live concert venues were set to take a big hit and return to “normal” business slower than most. Now, some are even in danger of closing for good.

I get it. If minimizing the spread of COVID-19 is the goal of safety precautions then live concerts – where hundreds to thousands of people (mostly strangers) are packed tightly together in a confined space – are just not a good idea right now. Performers got on board pretty quickly, with summer tours cancelled left and right amid the pandemic.

Still, it was a hard pill to swallow. The most anticipated Riverfest lineup since I moved back to the area? Cancelled. My first concert experience at Red Rocks? Not in 2020. Seeing some highly anticipated artists perform in Wichita? Better luck next year.

While music is soldiering on with more live streaming concerts, it’s just not the same. You can’t match the electric atmosphere of a live concert watching at home through a computer screen.

For me, music is therapeutic. It help me process my emotions when I’m going through a rough patch. Live music amplifies that times 10. It is my happy place.

Believe me, with all the other issues our country is facing at the moment, I know the loss of live music seems like a trivial concern. But it is still part of our economy. That brings tourism revenue into our communities. More than that, live music is a unifying experience – and we could certainly use more of those at the moment.

Personally, since the pandemic hit, I have tried to be more conscious of my spending – looking to support local businesses over national chains. Now that local music venues with side businesses are starting to reopen, I will look to support them, too, while one of their largest revenue streams is taken away.

One of my favorite live music venues in the area is The Wave in Wichita. Currently, they have reopened for dinner/lunch/brunch service on the weekends with live local music. They have found ways to support a number of causes through the pandemic as well, earning my support all the more.

While not directly involved, a recording of one of The Wave’s concerts from the past year (St. Paul and The Broken Bones, a must-see) is also currently available through the band for a donation that partially goes to the Equal Justice Initiative.

I’ve heard reports that people will be less likely to eat out, go to live concerts, etc., following the current pandemic. Once live concerts resume, though, I will be there.

Optimistically, I’m now turning my attention to October in hopes that I’ll be able to see the Foo Fighters when they return to Wichita. Fittingly, in a piece for “The Atlantic,” lead singer Dave Grohl perfectly summed up why I am anticipating the return of live music.

“Together, we are instruments in a sonic cathedral, one that we build together night after night. And one that we will surely build again.”


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