COVID-19 Adds New Risk to Music Midtown Crowds
It’s 85 degrees and you’re in the middle of a screaming crowd smelling someone’s cloud of raspberry blue vape. You are hot and sweaty, your legs are tired after waiting for two hours for the next band to take the stage.
You can’t even turn around without bumping into the people next to you and god knows how long the queue is for neglected porta pots – welcome to Music Midtown, the most popular music festival in Atlanta taking place at Piedmont Park this next weekend.
Music festivals are disgusting and germ-infested at the best of times, but being in the midst of a pandemic brings a whole different public health and safety issue.
In 2019, Music Midtown drew a crowd of almost 50,000, and this year it can be expected to draw a sizable crowd as people can’t wait to go out again and see some music. live after a year of closure. As the music festival scene across the country heats up again, the question of whether or not it’s a good idea or the right time to have a big music festival in Atlanta is being questioned.
This year, Music Midtown is requiring all attendees to have a full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of attending the festival.
In addition, Music Midtown is partnering with the city of Atlanta for an on-site vaccination campaign that will take place on Sunday. To encourage people to come and get vaccinated, the festival offers free tickets to anyone who gets vaccinated at one of the two locations in the park. While it’s great that the festival is trying to be cautious about the pandemic, there are certainly gaps in their plan.
First, even if an unvaccinated person tests negative three days before attending the festival, that does not guarantee that they will not catch the virus or choose to quarantine themselves within that time frame.
Second, having an incentive vaccination site at the festival attracts unvaccinated people to the festival who, despite their negative test required to attend, could still be carriers and expose more people already at the festival.
According to the CDC, vaccines aren’t even fully effective until about two weeks after being vaccinated, and you need to have two doses for optimal immunity, so the logic behind allowing newly vaccinated people to go to the festival immediately after being vaccinated. vaccinated doesn’t make much sense from a safety standpoint.
Similar to the ‘newcomer plague’ as some may call it, which is the phenomenon seen at Tech at the start of the semester when everyone returns to campus and a significant number of students fall ill at the same time, music festivals are known to be super spreaders, even in the pre-pandemic days.
Sometimes it feels like we forget that COVID-19 isn’t the only disease, so even if you have your vaccine, the chances of getting sick with something are still relatively high if you spend an entire weekend. in an overcrowded area without a mask.
Another issue to consider is Music Midtown’s main participant; high school and college students flock to the festival every year to see their favorite artists and groups. It’s all fun and playful until they get home or return to their campus or high school and potentially spread COVID-19 to those who haven’t even attended the festival.
However, despite all the obvious risks, a lot of people still go there because why not – Music Midtown is so much fun and gives students something exciting to look forward to. The music festival is very close to campus, and you can see so many top performers in a weekend for a decent price. If that happens, it’s hard to say no, and that’s the risk Music Midtown takes by setting it up in the first place. If there is a big spike in cases, don’t blame the participants, blame the organizers.