How to “Bluegrass” during a Pandemic
2020 has been a unique year to say the least. The world as a whole has been dealing with so many anomalies and hardships that COVID-19 has enhanced tenfold changing our lives and how we live them. Bluegrass has been just as hard hit as everything else, causing the vast majority of festivals across the country from March through August to be canceled and folks making a living in the business being the hardest hit.
Nobody knows when the virus will go away, even if the vaccine come out in late 2020 we may not see the end of the pandemic for many months. What has been done is done at this point so let us look forward to how we can get back to Bluegrass. Many folks are done with being trapped inside their homes and are pushing for a change to get some semblance of normalcy back into existence. Let’s talk about some ways that everyone can get safely back to Bluegrass.
Before we get too deep into what steps each of us CAN take, lets quickly discuss personal freedom. COVID-19 is real, and its dangerous but just because you want to take certain measures, doesn’t mean everyone else has to as well. Keep in mind, you as a normal citizen are not going to mandate actions of other citizens just because your opinion of the situation is different.
As it applies to Bluegrass in this discussion just keep in mind: IF YOU DON’T FEEL SAFE, STAY HOME OR TAKE WHAT EVER MEASURES YOU MUST PERSONALLY TO FEEL SAFE. Your Personal Freedom does not take precedence over other’s Personal freedom.
Luckily most Florida Bluegrass events are outdoors, which makes it much easier to maintain space. Some social distancing guidelines already apply to these venues, but you can chose to exceed those guidelines. Find yourself a space away from folks where you can still enjoy the show. It would be best for you to call the venue ahead of time and see what Social Distance options are available to you (I suggest investing in a 10×10 pop-up tent so you can have cover from the ever changing Florida weather if the venue permits)
Some folks just can’t come out to events yet and that is understandable. Luckily the Bluegrass as an industry has been trouble shooting this problem for months now and many venues have started to offer a Live Streaming option to the show to give folks their Bluegrass fix. Most of these streams are done via Facebook or Youtube and can be played on any device including a Smart TV. Reach out to the people running the Bluegrass event you would like to watch to see if there is a Live Streaming option and they should be able to walk you through how to best view the stream.
Radio Simulcast at the Festival
Want to get out of the house, but not get around too many people? Camping at a festival but listening to the show on local simulcast might be an option. Many of today’s Bluegrass festivals broadcast the show on a local radio frequency so that folks who might be less mobile than others can still hear the show from their camper. If you have internet access, Live Streaming might also be an option from the festival as well. You can reach out to the festival promoter ahead of time to see if there is a Radio Simulcast option before you make the trek.
Masks, hand sanitizer and other measures
If a venue doesn’t have a mask mandate, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to wear one. Just because others are hugging and touching, doesn’t mean you can’t give an air-fist bump. There are many extra measures you can take to get to your level of comfort including hand sanitizer, spraying Lysol on your seats, sitting spaced out from others and much more.
Be aware and do what you think is best
In the end, even the “Experts” are making educated guesses during this pandemic so it’s really hard to say “Do _________ and you will be safe” for any situation. You need to do make decisions on your Bluegrass event involvement based on what is best for you personally and try to keep others in mind as well. There is no “One Size Fits All” measure out there, but please be courteous to others when you are figuring out what works for you.
There are been many successful Bluegrass festivals in just the past few months that haven’t resulting in any COVID spikes or any other negative fallout. SamJam, The Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver festival, SOS Lincolnton and many more! They took measures and allowed folks to do what was best for themselves.
This is going to be a long road back to “Normal” and each person is going to have to decide what their own speed limit is.