What Touring Might Look Like in 2021 

It’s impossible to tell how much live music will change in 2021, but it’s safe to bet things will continue to look much different than we’re used to.

Even in the best-case scenario, normalcy isn’t likely to return to live music for a long time. But that doesn’t mean shows will grind to a halt like they did throughout much of 2020.

There’s no getting around the painful fact that countless shows around the world were canceled this year.

However, an area of hope is seeing how musicians, venues, and musicians are innovating and using creativity to share live music as safely as they can.

2021 is shaping up to be a creative, intimate, and rewarding year for touring musicians.

If the trends we’re seeing now in live music continue, 2021 is shaping up to be a creative, intimate, and rewarding year for touring musicians.

Think small (really small)

While arena shows and giant festivals aren’t likely to make a comeback anytime soon, limited capacity shows could define touring in 2021.

We’re now seeing shows with audiences as small as 10-20 listeners that have to RSVP to attend.

This might not be ideal if you’re used to playing for big crowds, but many listeners report loving the intimate feel of small shows.

To help make limited capacity shows financially rewarding for musicians, venues and promoters will charge higher ticket prices.

In general, fans will be happy to pay more to support musicians and experience live music again.

Small, intimate shows with everyone from developing artists to big stars is something we’ll probably see a lot of in 2021.

Small, intimate shows with everyone from developing artists to big stars.

Outdoor shows will be the norm

Musicians, venues, and festivals are likely to go to great lengths to bring music outside as much as possible in 2021

We’ll see lots of venues setting up shop in parking lots and local parks. Instead of house show tours, bands will play backyards and porches.

Out of necessity, these shows won’t just be limited to the spring and summer.

With the help of outdoor heaters and hand warmers, musicians will perform outdoors during colder months when the weather allows.

With the help of outdoor heaters and hand warmers, musicians will perform outdoors during colder months.

Outdoor touring opportunities we’re likely to see in 2021:

  • Pop-up shows on street corners and in parking lots
  • Performances in public spaces like local, state, and national parks
  • Backyard and porch concerts
  • Musician, venue, and festival collaborations that bring concerts outside

Developing artists will thrive through creativity and innovation

Major artists probably won’t be able to pivot as easily to touring in 2021 as unestablished and small artists will.

After a year like 2020, audiences will be hungrier than ever for live music. Unestablished artists have the flexibility and resourcefulness to give it to them.

Small artists are used to being nimble when it comes to playing in unconventional venues and doing a lot with limited resources.

Between this flexibility and what’s likely to be a huge demand for live music, there’s a chance that touring musicians with modest followings will have lots of big opportunities next year.



A newfound appreciation for performing musicians

Without access to live music throughout much of 2020, we’re going to see audiences valuing performing musicians like never before next year.

The pandemic is likely to still be a major concern next year, and there will be risks associated with performing music.

In general, fans will be happy to pay more to support musicians and experience live music again.

This means everything from more attentive listeners to higher wages for performers is a good possibility.

The lack of live music this year has been devastating to music fans.

As it slowly returns in new and innovative ways, we might see listeners go out of their way to support musicians like never before.

This newfound appreciation and connection from fans could shape music for decades to come.

Masks, distancing, and other safety measures

In places like the US where the pandemic has hit the hardest, restrictions like masks, social distancing, and other safety measures are probably going to be a big part of live music in 2021 and beyond.

This is one of the reasons shows will be small in 2021 compared to 2019.

But while safety measures can be frustrating and limiting, creative musicians and venues will find innovative ways to put on incredible live music experiences safely.

We’re already seeing a lot of this happening this year. 

We’ll see more camaraderie between venues, musicians, and fans

Because we’ve had so much less live music in our lives, touring in 2021 will feel incredibly special and valuable to both fans and musicians.

Fans, musicians, promoters, and venues will team up to ensure live music can happen safely next year.

If there’s one good thing for live music that’s come out of the pandemic, it’s the realization of how important shows are.

From large communities down to a personal level, live music makes life better for countless people.

Things definitely won’t return to normal next year, but live music will bring a lot of comfort and hope to people in 2021.

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