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Kyle Houck
Photograph: Courtesy Kyle Houck

Five things you should know before seeing a concert in NYC right now

Have proof of vaccination ready, expect less people and get ready for sporadic mask-wearing

Written by
Katie Zepf

This past Tuesday, I had the pleasure of seeing Machine Gun Kelly perform at the Pier 17 Rooftop in Manhattan. Aside from the show, there were also a lot of new requirements and protocols when it comes to seeing music live in the city right now. As concerts are coming back to the city this fall, here are five things you should know before attending a concert. 

1. Most venues require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for entry.

After picking up my passes at will call, I was immediately asked for proof of vaccination, along with an ID to match. I showed a picture of my vaccine card, but mobile versions (such as New York’s Excelsior Pass) and physical copies were accepted as well. While I did not personally see anyone in line showing a negative COVID test (taken within 72 hours of the show) over proof of vaccination, the concert did accept that as part of their Health Check. According to the Pier 17 website, ticket refunds will not be reissued if a guest is unable to provide evidence of vaccination or a negative test. 

2. The concert appeared to be at a reduced capacity.

Going into the sold-out concert, I expected the crowd to be packed in, similar to pre-COVID shows. However, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to easily walk through the general admission crowd without feeling claustrophobic. As Pier 17 is an outdoor venue on the water, it was nice to feel a breeze and not be stuck in a mosh pit. The VIP area that we briefly watched the show from was located near the back of the crowd next to the lighting and held bleachers where people were also quite spaced out.  

3. Masks are encouraged, but not required. 

Upon entering the show, the employees at will call were wearing masks behind the glass windows, as well as some security guards. However, beyond that, I do not recall seeing that many attendees wearing masks. That might be due to the fact that this was at an outdoor venue, and the proof of vaccination/negative COVID test instilled a bit of safety in the crowd. Still, Pier 17 encourages guests to wear face masks at their events as per CDC guidelines, except when eating or drinking.

4. Mosh Pits were minimal.

While some of Machine Gun Kelly’s music leans more on the pop-punk side and may seem ideal for moshing, it did not appear that the audience felt the same way. Even when Kelly asked the audience to “open up” the general admission pit, it seemed that most of the crowd remained in their spots, continuing to be cautious of the spacing even at an outdoor venue.

5. The energy from the crowd was like no other. 

As an avid concert-goer who had not been to a live show since February of 2020, the return of concerts this summer was music to my ears. While shows may be a bit different than they were two years ago, the chance to see one of my new favorite artists live was something I did not want to pass up. Being (distantly) surrounded by other passionate individuals enjoying themselves as much as I did was something I really longed for, and it did not disappoint. Hopefully, live music is able to continue safely, as music venues make an effort to keep everyone healthy and safe during this time.

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