Opinion: The year the music died

Cody Wagner, Entertainment Writer

The year 2020 has been a year of confusion, frustration, chaos and unpredictability. From the horrific effects of the coronavirus to racial tensions to the political divide amongst rival parties these are the major issues that have affected this year so far. Despite all these unsettling feelings and mixed emotions, there is a way to cope with this delirious year: music.

COVID-19 has made it difficult for hardcore music fans to enjoy and connect with music. This is done to prevent the spread of the virus. Limits have been set. There have been no parties and hardly any live shows. I was supposed to attend Riot Fest in September, but because of COVID-19, it was postponed until next year. Many expected to attend Lollapalooza, which is considered one of the biggest musical festivals, but it ended up being postponed and replaced as a live stream event with performances from years prior by different artists. 

As much as I wanted the full experience, I view the unfortunate circumstance as a way to prepare and build excitement for next year’s events. Although the cancellation disappoints and upsets me, it’s the way things are right now to keep people safe so future musical events can occur. It is an unfortunate circumstance that is not just affecting me but others as well. I’ve understood that this is the new normal and a new form of sacrifice to protect the health and safety of the public. 

Life as I recognized and understood is gone for now as society tries to piece itself together so things can start to go back the way they once remained.  

Options are limited. All everyone has to work with is streaming music on Spotify or using YouTube. The days of viewing live music are limited because of the safety and consideration of the public. Many, as well as myself, wonder when live music will return. It could be months, even years, depending on the outcome of COVID-19. It’s very frustrating, and the unpredictability doesn’t help as I strive to get the experience of live music the best that I can. 

I miss being with crowds of people enjoying their common interests. I miss hearing the loudness from the band and audience. I miss the excitement, the drinking, the smoking, and the party-like atmosphere that was created by the adoring fans at every venue. But what I miss the most is the connection and experience and being able to see bands in person. This experience was up close and personal for me and others as it enhanced my understanding and appreciation for music. 

Concerts were a way for me to express my love for music with other like-minded people. To share a common genre of music and to listen and laugh and sing together as a family. The whole idea of concert fans and the atmosphere makes you feel as though you are family relating and connecting with the crowd and the music being played for endless satisfaction. 

Every day I am skeptical as to how we will end up tomorrow. It’s this mindset that has myself and many other music fans in a state of frustration and confusion. 

When COVID-19 first hit, and I heard the virus was becoming a  major story in the news, it felt like I was stabbed in the heart. Quarantine was being put into play. Everyone was in their houses afraid, anxious, alone, scared to even go outside. Restaurants were closed, upcoming events canceled. The world was just put on pause as people were trying to understand this new situation. So much devastation and irritation came over me as I tried to piece together something that I felt I was losing. 

As the year has progressed, I have come to understand the situation we find ourselves in and have seen the impact the virus has caused and how precautions need to be made in order for people’s safety and well-being to not be jeopardized.  All I can do is just sit back and listen to what the world has and will offer. 

Artists can take time to create and develop new music. Metallica, Travis Scott, Maroon 5, etc have been working on new music. This is the time for musicians new and old, to grow and to create. With the unpleasantness comes a new opportunity and advantage for the near future so that even greater music can be made by highly talented individuals. 

It’s this new chapter that can determine much success and possibility for future up-and-coming artists. Now is the time where new music can be made correctly and artists can have the time to work on new material, express, create, and interpret the world around them. Tomorrow we could have the new song of the year. Every day is a possibility, and right now time is on the side of many as we further progress into a new world. This time allows for artists to truly reflect upon their work, and go further into its impact and how it can influence and relate to the ever-changing society we live and reside in today. 

This year has brought about much change for the world of music. A change that many still have to adapt to as we venture on into this struggle we are still combating. We all must remember that we are in this together. Life may seem unpredictable and scary now, but in time everything will become normalized as it once was and music can start to adapt again into a live and up-close level. It will take some time, but I do believe that with the right mindset and patience, things can go back to normal, and live music can rein over the world once again. 

We can go at each other’s throats and cause more violence and never-ending hate, or we can listen together and share music as a way of overcoming struggles that lay upon us in times of fear and turbulence. Once we understand music’s importance and embrace its potential, only then can we start to rebuild ourselves and live again.