Kailan Wendler is excited to be back on campus and in person for the school year, but her excitement stems from something not-so-academic: the return of live music in Pittsburgh.
Wendler is a junior sports arts and entertainment management (SAEM) major. Before the pandemic, she was a frequent concertgoer and was heartbroken whenever live entertainment was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020.
“I’m so excited and glad to see live music returning. I frequently went to shows before the pandemic and made it a staple in my life, so it’s nice to be back,” Wendler said.
It took a long time for shows to come back, but finally during this past summer, shows slowly started picking back up. For Wendler, her welcome back to live music was a show by metalcore band, Kublai Khan TX, at Preserving Underground on Aug. 7.
“Kublai Khan was my last show on March 12 before the pandemic, so it was a full-circle moment,” Wendler said. “I had a great time, and it was so nice to see everyone in the local music scene come together again.”
With concerts kicking back into gear, many venues have been enforcing different policies for the safety of concert goers. Here in Pittsburgh, venues like Stage AE, Mr. Smalls Theatre, and The Mr. Roboto Project are all requiring attendees to show proof of a coronavirus vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 48 hours of the event. Attendees must also show their government ID to match their vaccination card.
This has caused an uproar by many, but Wendler doesn’t mind the new requirements. If she can keep someone safe and enjoy a concert, she’s happy.
“Requiring vaccination proof or a negative test seems to be a current debate regarding the return to live music,” Wendler said. “Personally, I think it’s super important. Live entertainment was the first to go and merely the last thing back, so providing information that states you are protected or don’t have coronavirus is a must if we want to keep the industry going.”
Another thing that some venues are requiring is for attendees to mask up. The Mr. Roboto Project is one of these venues, but other venues like Stage AE are suggesting it for attendees and requiring it for staff.
Wendler doesn’t mind masking up if she’s asked to, but generally she feels safe with her vaccine.
“Truthfully, I feel safe enough to go to a show without a mask on if they ask for either a negative COVID test or vaccination proof,” Wendler said. “However, if the venue or band requires a mask, then I would be glad to do so.”
Even though there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the music industry and coronavirus right now, Wendler is just excited to be able to socialize again with other music fans and get lost in the music.
“Of course I’m glad to see and hear live music again but I’m really excited to form those connections you would only get at concerts,” Wendler said. “I’ve made countless lifetime friends attending shows, and I’m so glad it’s picking back up again.”