The Future of Music Festivals


Kiran Matthews

Among the massive casualties of the music industry caused by Covid-19 limitations and precautions, music festivals were put to rest as most beloved festivals seemed to completely disappear over this last year. With vaccinations being made widely available to the Charlottesville community and Covid case numbers steadily falling, some hope is inspired by future festival opportunities. With hope, live music will once again be able to open its doors up to the festival-starved public, and some humanity will return into the world of live entertainment. 


To recap, music festivals came to a sudden stop last March, as Covid began crawling into the venues we loved the most. Many festival organizations decided to postpone events or cancel live performances entirely. Not much could be done by the festival fanatic community, and many music-loving members in the community had to sit in the silence of their own homes as quarantine hit. 


With COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out, it is (projected) that most Charlottesville community members over the age of 16 will be fully vaccinated by the summer. This means that while large gatherings will remain discouraged, small openings into what the music community missed most will be brought back into a live setting. Junior student Nico Sun adds some insight into what people are missing most: “So many people coming together to enjoy a performance is just a sick thing that there is a missing out on right now, which sucks.” Both concerts and music festivals in the surrounding areas have begun making adjustments to enable the return of small-scaled events open to the live music-loving community. 


Taking a look into the music festivals within Charlottesville and the close surrounding areas, notable events such as Floydfest, Redwing Roots, Rooster Walk, and more plan to make a Covid-safe come back during the 2021 season. Down below are released decisions from local festival dates as they stand now.


FloydFest: Planned to take place the week of July 21-25th, 2021

RedWing Roots Music Festival: Tentatively scheduled for July 9-11, 2021

RoosterWalk: Festival canceled for 2021.

Virginia Arts Festival: Williamsburg Live is still planned for June 19, 2021.

Shenandoah Valley Music Festival: Still scheduled for July-Sept. 2021

LOCKN’ Music Festival: Still scheduled for Oct. 1-3, 2021

The Festy: Planned for April 2021.


While at first thought, the simple idea of festivals returning brings hope back into those who missed the excitement and overall feeling of live entertainment, but the simple truth remains that some festivals’ released plans feature precautions such as contactless entrances, social distanced seating areas, smaller-scaled shows, and limitations on attendance numbers which may subtract from the usual festival experience that is most loved. To get some student input, Audrey Ragsdale, a C.H.S. junior, says “I am looking forward to going to see some live concerts downtown and dancing and singing with friends.” Most can agree that one of the biggest missed parts of live music performances is the social aspect of grabbing a few friends and heading out to attend small concerts or festivals. “I miss just being able to get out and listen to music, plus just the overall feeling of excitement around concerts,” says junior Julia Cory. Now while the full feeling of concerts, with raging crowds and a totally surreal atmosphere of live music will take longer to come back, the return of smaller events enables pieces of the aspects people miss the most to make a slow but appreciated return.