Many events in the game industry may be returning to a live (as in physical, not virtual) sometime this year. Penny Arcade Australia announced a return to a physical event in October. Gamescom has announced a return in August as a hybrid event. Some events, like E3 and Game Developers Conference (GDC), are spending 2021 in the digital format. Many other event organizers who have not yet made any announcements about their respective events are playing their cards close to their chest whether their events will be live, hybrid, or virtual.
So it might be considered an outlier to the “wait and see” or “later this year we’ll be hybrid or live” approach when an event organizer announces a live event this weekend in Texas.
In this case, Video Games Live has announced a live/in-person concert, along with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, in Lubbock, Texas on March 27. Video Games Live is a producer of a series of splashy, immersive concerts focused on video game music that usually perform around the world, at least in the before times.
Note that the Texas state government has lifted its mask mandate and opened all business and facility capacity to 100% in early March. By contrast with the potential allowances, the organizers stated the orchestra will be performing at 6 feet apart from each other, and attendees will also be required to be socially distanced as well. The venue capacity will be capped at 30%. Whether or not masks will be required wasn’t specified in the announcement.
So, the concert can be expected to be a scaled-back, more careful experience from it’s glory days. It’s already an interesting and important process to see how event organizers adjust as they attempt to find their footing as the new normal emerges. How this concert goes could be considered a bellwether on future events like this one (and others).
Will folks feel safe enough, while we are (slowly) getting out of a pandemic, to attend this concert? Will there be enough precautions to fully mitigate infection risk? That’s certainly up in the air. We’ll follow this concert, and we’ll see how it plays out.