This image shows a crowd participating in an outdoor concert. These events and other music festivals are returning.

Outdoor Concerts and Music Festivals Returning Across U.S.

Festicket, which arranges tickets and accommodations for music festivals, ranked the top 20 outdoor concerts and music festivals in the U.S. So, as a service to our readers, IIFX has rounded up the latest Covid-19 protocols at each event. Some have been canceled or postponed, but most of the shows are going on. Keep reading below, and be sure to check out Festicket’s rankings and ticket information.

Canceled or Virtual

Iconic festival and cultural phenomenon Burning Man will be virtual this year. The event’s website says organizers are focused on creating a 2022 event “that will really make a difference.”

According to the Desert Sun, Coachella and its country music counterpart, Stagecoach, will return in April 2022. Organizers canceled both events for the second year in a row after a series of postponements. Had the events gone on, the Sun says California’s rules would have required attendees to be fully vaccinated or wear face coverings.

Michigan’s Electric Forest Festival was also canceled for the second year in a row. The event’s website says they are planning a 2022 return. 

Per CBS Miami, Ultra Music Festival will return to Miami Beach in March 2022. The event didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021, and Covid wasn’t the only obstacle to its return. CBS says event organizers and nearby residents who have complained about the festival reached an agreement for its return. 

South by Southwest went on earlier this spring with a week of live-streamed festivities. Peter Blackstock of the Austin American-Statesman observed that “film worked really, really well, and music less so.” Live-streaming music is a new phenomenon – and one SXSW shouldn’t have to deal with going forward. The Statesman also reports that next year’s event will take place in-person.

RELATED: Learn how festivals around the world responded to Covid, including one live-streaming snafu in England.

A crowd raves at an outdoor concert.

Returning this Summer

Afropunk, an outdoor concert featuring Black and Caribbean artists, will take place in Miami on June 17. According to the Miami New Times, they live-streamed a spring festival from Miami. Florida has banned events and organizations from requiring proof of vaccination for entry.  

Outdoor hip-hop concert series Rolling Loud will return to Miami July 23-25 and Queens October 28-30, per its website. Organizers moved the Miami event back from its original date of May 7-9. The site says organizers are “currently working with local and state officials” on Covid protocols as of April 20. While the U.S. shows will go on, Rolling Loud did however postpone its Portugal festival to July 2022.

Lollapalooza will return to Chicago July 29 to August 1. Per ABC 7 Chicago, the city is turning vaccine sites into “Lollapalooza experiences” with DJs and giveaways, including single-day tickets. ABC 7 earlier reported that attendees must be fully vaccinated or pass a Covid test each day of the event. 

On Sunday, August 22, the HOT 97 Summer Jam will return to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. A release says the outdoor concert will be New York’s first music festival since the pandemic began. That same release says the event will take health and safety measures but does not specify any vaccination, masking, or distancing requirements. 

This NFL venue will host the largest outdoor concert of the summer.

Scheduled for Late Summer

Bonnaroo will return to Manchester, Tennessee, September 2-5. The festival’s website says it will alert patrons to any policy changes related to Covid. Despite not listing any specifics yet, the site does note that organizers “have taken enhanced health and safety measures.” Per Fox 17 Nashville, Tennessee has banned so-called “vaccine passports.” 

New York EDM festival Electric Zoo makes its return Labor Day weekend. The event’s tickets page lists a Covid cancelation disclaimer, and organizers have released no other pandemic-related guidelines. Many events have returned to New York with vaccination requirements, so this one could have the same rules. According to the New York Times, the Foo Fighters just played the city’s first full-capacity music event since Covid, welcoming fully vaccinated fans only to Madison Square Garden.

In addition to Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival will return to Chicago’s arts scene September 9-11. Thrillist reports that all attendees over age 12 must have proof of a Covid vaccine or a negative test. The site also says masks are required; however, Chicago has since lifted those restrictions, per ABC 7.

Firefly Music Festival, which Festicket describes as “the east coast’s biggest camping festival,” will return September 23-26. The Dover, Delaware, event will reduce capacity to 50,000 and unveil any other potential restrictions later, Delaware Online says. 

New York is offering tickets to the Governors Ball Music Festival as vaccination incentives, per Staten Island Live. The event will return September 24-26. The event has not released any Covid rules or vaccine requirements. New York can, however, hold events for vaccinated fans only (like the Foo Fighters concert).

Some places are offering tickets to outdoor concerts and music festivals as vaccine incentives.

Fall Festivals

Austin City Limits will return the first two weekends in October. Per KXAN, the city is not mandating vaccine requirements, and organizers haven’t said if they will employ other measures like temperature checks or social distancing.  

III Points, a “boutique festival” in Miami, first moved from October 2020 to May 2021, according to Boca Raton Magazine. Then, organizers moved the event once again to October 22-23, per the event website. Like Afropunk and Rolling Loud Miami, III Points will not be able to require proof of vaccination for entry.

In January, New Orleans decided to move its Jazz and Heritage Festival to mid-October, per CNN. In early May, they held “Jazz Fest in Place.” Per WWL-TV, Louisiana has dropped capacity and masking restrictions, so the in-person Jazz Fest could look fairly normal. 

Electric Daisy Carnival, an EDM event in Las Vegas, will return October 22-24. Organizers had planned to hold the event in late May. In a letter published by ABC 13 Las Vegas, festival organizer Pasquale Rotella said that local guidelines require a local vaccination rate of 60% for a major event like this one, and organizers did not want to risk that rate not being achieved by May.

Desert Daze will move locations and transition from a traditional festival to a series of outdoor concerts ranging from October 17 to November 23, says Live Music Blog. The California event will return to its usual location in 2022. Covid protocols could evolve and further loosen by then, but this format provides the event more flexibility.

Returning to Normal

The return of these outdoor concerts – and indoor ones too – across the U.S. marks encouraging progress against the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, fans must be – and feel – safe to feel comfortable partaking in this return to normal.

IIFX’s Return to Work, Play, and Spectate guide offers expert advice on reopening spectator events like these. Our “Fancentric” approach helps events and organizations reemerge and reinvent themselves with a safe, holistic fan experience. Click here to learn more about subscribing.

This article first appeared in our biweekly newsletter, the IIFXtra. Sign up here to get the latest from IIFX.

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