Students share excitement about return of in-person concerts

Silently sneaking out early through the back door of her Introduction to Math class, Cecilia Garcia frantically whipped out her phone and scavenged the internet to score a “Harry Styles: Love on Tour” ticket. 

“It’s always been a special thing to me to go to concerts,” government sophomore Garcia said. “It’s so different than listening to it in a car. Everybody’s singing along, just vibing, and you make a lot of new friends.”

Like Garcia, many students planned to attend performances of their favorite artists in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced many artists to postpone or even cancel their tours. But as the number of vaccinated people increases and COVID-19 cases decrease in Texas, more and more venues are opening back up, allowing artists to once again create their magic.

Linguistics junior Emily Luedke said she’s excited to slowly start getting back to live music. Even though her Julien Baker concert won’t happen until October, she’s still thankful to be attending the show at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, a smaller outdoor venue, rather than a packed arena.

“It’ll be a good way to kind of get back into social gatherings,” Luedke said. “But I do definitely have concerns if things aren’t better by that point. (I might) have to maybe reconsider, but as of right now, it’s just kind of a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Despite her anxieties, Luedke said not having the experience of live music in quarantine made her appreciate seeing artists perform in person more. 

“There’s a connection that happens between the musicians and the audience,” Luedke said. “I’ve heard (artists) say they feed off of the energy from the audience … so you get to see how they are feeling the song in the moment. Music isn’t stuck in one place; it changes based on how you’re feeling, so I think the artists are able to show us what the song means to them in person.”

Journalism junior Courtney Smith said although her KALEO concert was moved to March 2022, she and her fiancé are ecstatic to finally go to a concert together, regardless of their different taste in music.

“We’ve been dating for five years and have never gone to a concert together,” Smith said. “ I like a lot of folk music and alternative music and … he likes Chris Stapleton and also listens to rap, so we’re both like all over the place. It’s kind of nice we actually found someone we both like enough to go to the concert.”

Smith said her love for music fueled her through the past year of pandemic life. Cautiously, she attended live, socially distanced performances at restaurants around Austin to once again feel the energy from each strum of a guitar and each vibrato of a voice. 

“With COVID and there not being (live music), there definitely felt like something was missing from the city,” Smith said. “So as soon as people started playing live music again, it was super cool, and I definitely missed it.”

As for Garcia, she said being around others who enjoy the same music and artists she does makes concerts 10 times better. A musician herself, Garcia said even though concerts continue to get postponed, her flame for music will never die. 

“Music has always been a huge part of my life,” Garcia said. “Even if I didn’t play any instruments, (music) is still something that I enjoy.”