COVID Precautions at Music Festivals


Since the start of the pandemic a year and a half ago, people have been itching to go back to their lives. Once the vaccines became readily available to the public, events such as concerts and award shows started to resume. Music festivals and concerts have been announced nonstop, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend both Sea Hear Now and Governor’

s Ball these past two weekends. 

Me at Governor’s Ball

Sea Hear Now is a music festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey created by Danny Clinch, a renowned concert photographer. Upon entering the venue, people were required to show their vaccination card. If that could not be provided, a negative covid test must be shown instead. Additionally, the festival placed hand sanitizer stations across the entire venue. It did not take me long to notice that the overall crowd was millennials, if not older. Given the headliner was Pearl Jam, I was not shocked. What did slightly surprise me, however, was the overwhelming amount of people wearing political shirts in favor of the Trump administration and Back the Blue. As I was standing in line waiting to buy merchandise, I overheard a man behind me complaining to his friend about the “ridiculous” vaccine. Naturally, I moved further away from him and put my mask on. During my two days at Sea Hear now, I would say that roughly around 30% of people were wearing their masks. A mask was most commonly worn while moving from one location to another, and once people settled into a spot to watch a band, it would usually be taken off. All in all, I had an amazing time at Sea Hear Now. The music was great, and it was so amazing to see my favorite bands play right in front of me. I was very lucky to have been able to attend, and despite what could be considered ignorance of people regarding the vaccine, I would do it all over again. 

Me at See Hear Now

The following weekend after Sea Hear Now, I was able to do it all over again, but this time at Governor’s Ball, a music festival that was created in 2011. It took place in the Citi Field parking lot, unlike other years, where it had been on Randall’s Island. Unlike Sea Hear Now, the crowd was all roughly around 15-25 years old and wore bright, glittery outfits. I felt like I was at an east coast Coachella. Similar to Sea Hear Now, we were required to show our vaccination cards. Once we did, we received a yellow bracelet, proving that we were vaccinated. As I entered the venue, I was relieved to see almost everyone had yellow bracelets. While listening to the music, everyone was tightly squished, and although it wasn’t particularly covid-friendly, I felt better knowing everyone around me was vaccinated. At booths and food stations, there were big bottles of hand sanitizer which were all pretty full. Rarely anyone use their mask, but I did notice people making an effort to spread out as they sat down to take a break. Ultimately, there were more people vaccinated at Governor’s Ball, but the audience was more tightly packed than at Sea Hear Now. The biggest concern regarding covid was the mosh pits at Governor’s Ball; teenagers all squished together dancing, screaming, and sweating. At Sea Hear Now, it was mainly adults moving their heads to the tempo and swaying slightly. Both festivals had good and bad moments regarding Covid and how they dealt with it, but I would say that Sea Hear Now was slightly safer than Governor’s Ball. I was also in the VIP Section at Sea Hear Now due to relationship connections, which separated me from the majority, so I felt safer not being squished between people like I was at Governor’s Ball. 

These two festivals were the first ones I have ever attended, and I could have never foreseen that it would have been while living during the time of a global pandemic. Both experiences were amazing, and I am so grateful for both of them. It definitely is a risk to go to festivals during a pandemic, but if you are vaccinated and safe, I personally believe that it is a risk worth taking.