Although it may feel like a distant memory, we all remember the feeling. Walking into a venue full of fellow fans, the excitement rife in the air and waiting for that magic moment when the lights will go down and the screams will begin. For many of us, concerts are the one place we can truly feel at home. We can lose all of our worries and concerns for a few hours and surround ourselves with our favourite songs, like-minded people and even some of the world’s biggest stars.

With COVID-19 putting the future of the music industry into question, there are many rumours circulating about what the future of concerts will look like. Will we swap muddy festival fields for drive-in car parks? Will we replace arena seats with our own armchairs?

Sadly, we’re already witnessing the loss of iconic local venues like Gorilla in Manchester. These venues have been unable to stay afloat without the constant review that regular weekly gigs bring. Some would argue that it is in these small venues that music truly comes alive, it’s a completely new experience to a huge arena but it’s also much harder to social distance. These safety precautions in smaller venues have created a hugely worrying time for the music industry, there’s no better feeling than going to a concert at your local venue and thinking you have uncovered the next big thing, those stories can be told forever. If we lose the grassroots venues where so many big artists started out, where will we find future talent? Will Youtube and social media be the platform for all future artists?

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Right now, it feels like the thought of experiencing and discovering music in person again is far away for most of us. In a survey conducted by Suzy, a real-time consumer insights platform, 38% of concert-goers aged 21 to 35 said that they will not attend a concert until there is a vaccine for the Coronavirus. Which means we may be relying on virtual concerts and online streaming for a lot longer than we hoped.

Virtual concerts do provide a chance to be creative, we can’t expect the world’s biggest artists to send a link to Zoom and play in their kitchen. With a rise in AI and incredible technologies, virtual concerts could become revolutionary and a truly immersive experience. Take Tomorrowland festival, it’s created a virtual world that ticket-holders can be transported to in a digital festival, which some might say recreates the magic we’re all longing for, just in a slightly different and more personalised way.

It’s a huge change, gathering your friends to your house to watch something on the TV can never compare to the electric atmosphere of watching your favourite band play. However, during a pandemic, safety is paramount.

If concerts do go ahead, will the thought of temperature checks, masks and potential social distancing mean the excitement is replaced with anxiety? While no one can deny it’s a necessity, and some would argue it would be worth the safety measures to experience that spine-tingling live moment for yourself, it’s certainly going to alter the experience of live music significantly.

It’s going to take a while to get used to the new normal and having hundreds or even thousands of people in one space may induce worry for many. Maybe it’s better to lose ourselves in a virtual world than be stood in panic and not enjoying the music. The magic of losing yourself in the moment when your favourite song is played, or singing loudly to the stranger next to you, may not be lost, but changed.