Let’s Hope the New York Times Is Dead Wrong

Is It Just Wishful Thinking That We'll Be at Concerts This Year?

The last full concert I went to was Ryan Hurd in Nashville. That was back on Feb. 6. So 68 days ago. And had I known it might be my last concert for a long, long time, I would’ve done things differently. I would’ve bought more merch. I would’ve pushed myself up to the front row. I would’ve stayed until the very last song. And I might’ve had one last drink, to toast the kind of live music I live for.

So this story from the New York Times has me filled with regret and imagining an unthinkable void.

The newspaper put together a panel of experts to talk about how and when the world will open back up. Zeke Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives and director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, had the scariest opinion of when Americans will be able to gather again at events like concerts and music festivals.

Here’s how he explained it:

“Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back. Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot distances are more reasonable to start sooner,” Emanuel said. “Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return.

“Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”

My spring and summer calendar is completely lacking in concerts. But in the fall — this fall, not next — I have filled up my schedule with Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Combs and more.

So if Emanuel is right, that just feels wrong.

Because live music is everything to country artists and to their fans — and all the live streams they’ve have been doing nearly every day and night do help — so I can’t even picture what a year without concerts would look like. Can you?

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.