Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, countless mass gatherings across the state have been cancelled, if not postponed, and this includes concerts and music festivals.
Due to the nature of how COVID-19 spreads, mass gatherings that typically occur in political rallies, shopping at malls, watching in movie theaters, and attending music festivals have been placed on pause with events being postponed.
California counties, including San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Riverside have seen their share of COVID-19 cases, which has prompted venue owners and festival promoters to reschedule or cancel their upcoming musical events.
Festivals such as Coachella, Beyond Wonderland, and numerous smaller shows and concerts across the state have issued official statements providing their reasons driving their decision to cancel or hold off on hosting their events – with most referring to COVID-19 as the main factor.
This comes after much deliberation resulting from California State Governor Gavin Newsom’s recommendation on March 11 that gatherings should be kept to under 250 people. Soon after, Disneyland closed its gates indefinitely and major sports leagues, such as baseball, cancelled their seasons.
With the prospect of the suspension of mass gatherings coming to fruition, Los Angeles venues such as the Exchange and Hollywood Palladium began to cancel their upcoming concerts and shows. Insomniac, one of the largest festival promoting companies in America, saw the need to rearrange their plans for their numerous fast approaching festivals.
On March 12, the Beyond Wonderland festival, held annually at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino, was officially rescheduled from its original dates in March to June 19-20 at the same venue.
Former student and avid music lover Leslie Flores, 22, shared her thoughts on promoters taking the advice from health professionals.
“I think it’s great that companies are talking to health professionals about the best options, which have all been to cancel events. It sucks, but people’s health is more important right now,” said Flores.
In a statement posted onto his social media, Insomniac founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella stated, “We received word from the State and the County that we can no longer proceed with Beyond Wonderland. All tickets purchased will be valid for this new date, and if you are unable to attend, all refund requests will be honored.”
— Pasquale Rotella (@PasqualeRotella) March 26, 2020
While the future of festivals is currently uncertain, Rotella remains adamant about keeping hopes high that we will all be reunited together by music again someday.
In the meantime, Insomniac has teamed up with the popular streaming service, Twitch, in order to bring virtual festivals to music lovers across the states and the world. On March 20-21, Rotella hosted the Beyond Wonderland Virtual Rave-A-Thon from 8:00 pm to 12:00 am PT.
CSUSB student and festival-goer John Roberge, 21, expressed his appreciation of the live-streams hosted by Insomniac and other music channels.
“One main thing I appreciate out of all of this are the live-streams that Insomniac, Proximity, and even other companies are doing. It is definitely a way for our rave community to come together for the love of music during this pandemic,” Roberge said.
Artists local to the Los Angeles area, such as Schade, Kill the Noise, Loud Luxury and several other acts, came out to put on a show to later have a recorded viewership of over one million people.
The overall message that the music community has broadcasted to all fans of live music is that while we may not know what the future holds, what’s more important than anything is the health of our friends, family and fellow festival lovers. As long as we all do our part, we’ll be back on the dance floor soon enough.