A 200-strong coterie of mostly men gathered in the Poconos Mountains earlier this month to engage in what some regard as this pandemic era’s ultimate taboo: a bacchanalian party. The Utopia music festival took place over the Labor Day holiday weekend (Sept. 4-7) in Pennsylvania, where open-air gatherings are currently capped at 250 people.
The event also served as a potential new model for the future: All attendees were screened with a Covid-19 test a few days before the event—and again at the door—in an effort to create an event “bubble.”
The viability of large music festivals in the midst of a global pandemic remains hazy—such landmark events as Coachella, Glastonbury, and Lollapalooza have all been struck from this year’s calendar, and an estimated $5 billion in ticket sales was lost in the U.S. just in the summer. If available, most Americans will not be able to get a vaccine until well into 2021.