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What will concerts look like when California reopens?

Concertgoers holding up lighters and phones
Concerts post-coronavirus will be radically different than the lighters-in-the-sky celebrations we’ve come to love.
(Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images)
Even in the most optimistic future under COVID-19, live music will be one of the last things to return to normal. When it does — and it will eventually — shows will be profoundly different. Beloved venues may have closed for good, crowds will be wary of each other on dancefloors and digital life may have supplanted sweaty clubs and sunny festival fields.

Since The Times started documenting the fallout of COVID-19 for the music industry, the news has often been dire. The concert business is decimated for now, and everyone from wedding bands to record store clerks are terrified of the next few months.

But public health experts believe there is a path forward to return eventually. Artists have turned to livestreaming in ingenious, sometimes hilarious ways to stay afloat (and sane). Music, as always, finds a way to be heard.

We hear from readers every day about how much they miss the heartbeat of L.A. nightlife. Until it returns in all its close-quartered, ear-splitting glory, just imagine how good that first cold drink on a hot festival field will taste. We’ll get back there someday.
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