Local concert venues unveil the ‘Clean Concert Experience’

Local venues like The Buckhead Theatre reveal their plans to host concert attendees during a pandemic safely. Photo Submitted by Noah Alford

Fans wait all evening in Atlanta concert halls, filled with anticipation to see their favorite band live after having their tickets for months. In March, excited concert-goers were met with massive show reschedulings and cancellations when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Georgia.

Luckily for concert connoisseurs, venues like the Coca-Cola Roxy, Tabernacle Atlanta and Buckhead Theatre are bringing back live shows with a COVID-19 friendly rebranding called the “Clean Concert Experience.”

The “Clean Concert Experience” incorporates the same safety guidelines across the board for all venues sponsored by Live Nation. These guidelines include making hand sanitizer available to guests throughout the venue, increased sanitation, staff clad in personal protective equipment, reduced building capacity and social distancing. Guests are required to wear masks except when eating or drinking.

The CDC does not provide a specific number of recommended concert attendees to determine a safe capacity. The CDC makes it clear that indoor venues should consider not allowing guests to remove their masks, as doing so increases the risk of disease spread.

Despite the new regulations, Georgia State’s avid concert-goers doubt the venue’s newly unveiled health precautions.

Junior Berenice Chavez attended 20 live shows in 2019. Before the pandemic, concerts were an opportunity for Chavez to relieve stress, hang out with friends, meet new people and see her favorite bands perform. As much as Chavez misses concerts, she doesn’t feel comfortable going to crowded venues despite the announcement of the “Clean Concert Experience.”

“Even if it was a socially distanced event, I feel like people won’t take it seriously like the Chainsmoker’s drive-in show,” she said. “Everyone ignored all guidelines and were extremely selfish.”

Junior Elizabeth Santa-Maria shares the same sentiments as Chavez. Santa-Maria doesn’t attend concerts often but has seen her favorite bands multiple times. She believes “there is no way” to adequately provide a socially distanced indoor concert.

“Unless they got rid of the general admission and used seating arrangements, I don’t think it would be safe at all,” she said. “Smells like a super-spreader [event] to me.”

Junior Grace Yund agrees with both Santa-Maria and Chavez. She is another concert enthusiast who attended 11 concerts in 2019 and has traveled to different states to see her favorite bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen. But she still doesn’t feel it is safe to attend an indoor concert. 

“I don’t think there’s any way to fully enforce masks in [a venue], especially because they’re allowing [masks] to come off for eating and drinking,” she said. “If the events were outside, I think that would be much safer.”

Yund and Chavez agree that the best part about attending concerts is being packed into a large crowd, bumping and jumping against strangers. For them, without that element, shows are not something they want to attend anytime soon.

The “Clean Concert Experience” is a way for Atlanta’s venues to welcome concert-goers through their doors once again. Unfortunately for these venues, a pandemic is just not the right time to join a mosh pit for some concert attendees.