Van Morrison Decries Socially Distanced Concerts as “Pseudo-Science”

The veteran songwriter calls on fellow musicians to join him in demanding a return to "full capacity audiences"

Van Morrison
Van Morrison, photo by Philip Cosores

As the pandemic enters its fifth month, concert promoters have to begun experiment with safe and responsible ways to bring back live music. So far, we’ve seen everything from drive-in concerts to reduced capacity outdoor events to the construction of a new socially distanced music venue. Not everyone is on board, however.

In a statement posted to his website, legendary troubadour Van Morrison refers to socially distanced concerts as “pseudo-science,” and calls on fellow musicians to join him in demanding a return to “full capacity audiences.”

“Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up,” Morrison writes. “It’s not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs. Come forward now, the future is now.”

Morrison himself is scheduled to play a trio of upcoming socially distanced concerts in the UK. However, as he contends, “This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums. This is also not the answer going forward.”

Morrison may have just earned himself an invite to next year’s Sturgis Buffalo Chip, but for all intents and purposes, it’s hard to envision any promoter or venue allowing a full capacity concert in the middle of a pandemic. The liability risk alone has prompted the largest and most financially significant events to move back until 2021, and even then there’s no guarantee there won’t be further postponements. In reality, the only way to ensure live music returns sooner than later is to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and work to flatten the curve once and for all. The quicker everyone gets on board, the sooner we can all return to a sense of normalcy.

Editor’s Note: Speaking of which, you can stay safe by picking up one of our custom face masks. A portion of the proceeds will benefit MusiCares’ COVID-19 Artist Relief fund supporting independent musicians.