In the fall out of the Covid-19 pandemic, creativity has become our greatest tool for finding and redefining our semblance of normality. Live music has been put on indefinite hold, directly hindering the primary source of income for most musicians and leading many wily organizers to take their efforts online. Just look at Bandcamp, who are forfeiting their sales revenue share to benefit artists every first Friday through the summer, and digital fests like Far Away Together and Cuarentena Fest cultivating an international network of indie camaraderie. But at some point, hopefully sooner than later, the way we as a society grapple with the Coronavirus will plateau, begging the question, what will live music look like when we get there?
In Spain, organizers of Montgorock Xábia Festival have proposed a new format for experiencing live music called Sistema Marko, which consists of small 150-person parcels arranged across a field, allowing attendees to commune with their favorite bands and artists while minding social distancing. The festival has also proposed a series of checkpoints, electronic bracelets that track attendance of each square parcel, practical locations of restrooms and hand sanitizer dispensers and other challenging logistical measures to strike a balance between health safety and a return to revelry.
Originally scheduled for May and now planned for the end of September, Montgorock boasted a line up with bands like Wolfmother, Niña Coyote and The Niftys, thrown into peril with the rest of Spain’s stacked festival calendar. It’s still unclear if the September edition will embrace these new sanitary measures or postpone festivities once more, as contagion in Spain is still not fully under control and reinfection rates remain a mystery. The proposal is still in its study phase, meaning financial viability has not come into focus either. While the situation may deem it necessary, it remains unclear if artists and general festival going audiences will be amenable or respectful of this new vision of the concert-going experience. We can only hope innovation leads the way back to safe and enjoyable partying once more.