Live Music Field Guide: How Local Major Stages Are Approaching the Return of Live Music

Live Music Field Guide Major Stages
Graphics by Ainsley Basic

Here at WERS, we’ve missed live music just as much as you. Nothing compares to feeling artists’ presence in person and we are so excited to see that many local venues are opening up to provide that experience again while still keeping everyone safe. From Covid-19 guidelines to new hours, new locations, and unfortunate closures, there have been a lot of changes to keep track of. 

To help you navigate them, we’ve compiled a new Live Music Field Guide series. For the first edition, we are looking at how major stages in the area are approaching the return of live music.



According to their website, Symphony Hall “require[s] audience members to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test result, either a PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance or an antigen test taken within the last 24 hours. Options for proof of vaccination include showing a vaccination card, a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine record upon entering Symphony Hall. Proof of a negative test will be accepted for children under age 12. The BSO’s fall protocols will also require mask-wearing except when patrons are actively eating and drinking, but will not include physical distancing." 

Their leaders are specifically excited about these policies. Their President and Chief Executive Officer Gail Samuel said, “after an 18-month closure of Symphony Hall due to the pandemic, we are thrilled to be presenting a season of Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts for audiences this year. By requiring vaccinations and masks, we hope that people will feel comfortable at concerts and know that we are doing all we can to create a safe environment to gather for the collective experience of live music.”

- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator



The website for the Bowery Presents, the company that owns the Sinclair, states that "for all events, all attendees will be required to show evidence of their full vaccination against COVID-19 prior to entering the venue. 'Full vaccination' means 14 days or more following the final dose of a US FDA approved or WHO recognized vaccine against COVID-19...Acceptable vaccination documentation may be a physical copy of a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, a digital photo / copy of such card. All attendees are required to wear a mask." 

I recently attended a show at the Sinclair, and from the moment you arrive in front of the venue, you'll know they're dedicated to their policy. They have a table set up at the bottom of the stairs to the entrance where they will check your vaccination card alongside your ID. 

- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator



As a well-known venue in Boston, the Royale is taking the initiative to put in certain measures to protect its visitors from COVID-19. So far, as stated on their website, they have been requiring proof of vaccination, except for Friday and Saturday’s nightclub operation past 10 pm. They have also been requiring masks while indoors. Like the Sinclair, the Royale is owned by Bowery Presents, so details on acceptable forms of documentation are the same (detailed above). 

- Erin Norton, Staff Writer



The Boch Center Wang Theatre’s Eric Neill says the venue cannot wait to welcome the arts community back inside, safely. Neill is the director of theatre operations & security at the venue. He kindly informed me he Boch Center Wang Theater has purchased a new, NASA-formulated air filtration system in the theater, a touch-free bathroom, hand sanitizing stations throughout the theater, as well as requiring a necessary vaccine card or a recent (48-72 hours) negative COVID-19 test to attend shows. He says the theater has taken as many precautions to ensure a healthy environment for both performers and patrons. These details can also be found on their website, linked here.

- Kelsey Sidman, Staff Writer



Boston's famous Paradise Rock Club is eager to let fans back into their beloved venue with a number of safety protocols. Paradise Rock Club states on their website “prior to entry into ALL shows, Crossroads Presents will require attendees to provide [physically printed and original copy] proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the event OR full COVID-19 vaccination (at least two weeks after final dose).” These rules are set in place to ensure a safe environment for fans to enjoy live music next to one another again. 

I myself attended Paradise Rock Club recently to see a show. Everyone at the show was masked up and the staff checked negative tests or vaccine cards at the door. The rules were well-enforced and I felt very safe the entire show, not to mention I had a great time dancing around to live music, which we all missed so dearly. 

- Kelsey Sidman, Staff Writer



As another venue that runs in conjunction with Crossroads Presents, Brighton Music Hall is following the same health and safety precautions as Paradise Rock Club listed above. In addition, their website helpfully lists out the following expectations: 

What you can expect: 

-We are following local health guidelines

-We are geared up with masks 

-We are continuously keeping our venue clean and sanitized throughout the show -Hand sanitizer is available throughout our venue 

What we expect from our guests: 

-Please be mindful of others’ personal space 

-Observe and comply with health check requirements for your event 

-Until further notice, masks are required to be worn at all times for attendees, regardless of vaccination status, except while actively eating or drinking 

-Observe and comply with signage and guidelines posted throughout the venue -Do your part to practice good hygiene (wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face) -If you are not feeling well, please stay home and get well.

- Meghan Hockridge, Program Coordinator



One of Boston’s newest venues, having just opened in October of 2019, Big Night Live didn’t get too long of a run before having to close down in March of 2020. But now, they are ready to keep the live music rolling while keeping guests safe. Big Night Entertainment Group, which runs Boston live music clubs Big Night Live and The Grand, announced their Covid-19 guidelines early last month. Guests will need proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent — within 24 hours for a rapid test or 72 hours for a PCR test — negative test result to enter. Additionally, all employees at the company’s nightclubs and venues will be required to be fully vaccinated or provide a weekly Covid-19 negative test result. 

In an interview with, Big Night co-founder Ed Kane said “I think we all owe each other a bit of responsibility here, and we want to make sure everybody’s safe” as he went over the details of the venues’ policies.  

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator



Boston’s House of Blues is following the same policies as other Live Nation-connected venues such as Paradise Rock Club, Brighton Music Hall, and Big Night Live. Their website’s safety guidelines state, “until further notice, masks are required to be worn at all times for attendees, regardless of vaccination status, except while actively eating or drinking. Starting October 4th, prior to entry into ALL shows, House of Blues Boston will require attendees to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result OR full COVID-19 vaccination.” They also encourage fans feeling any Covid-19 symptoms to stay home and that concert-goers practice good hygiene and are respectful of fellow fans’ personal space.

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator



Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston’s Seaport is able to have a slightly different approach than many of Boston’s indoor venues due to its open-air setup. Per the venue’s page on the Live Nation website, their mask policy states, “the CDC strongly recommends that all fans who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear face coverings unless they are actively eating, drinking or are otherwise exempt from having to wear a face covering. Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a face covering.”

Prior to entry, they require printed proof of a negative Covid-19 test result from within the past 72 hours to the event or a complete (two weeks post final dose) vaccination card, original copy. The venue encourages fans to “know the symptoms of Covid-19” and stay home if they are experiencing any of them. They also outline enhanced cleaning and sanitization that has been implemented. The website states, “before and after each show all high touch areas, including seats, handrails, concessions stands, restrooms and merchandise stands will be disinfected.” And they promise the availability of hand sanitizing dispensers and disinfectant wipes in high-touch areas. Leader Bank Pavilion has a detailed FAQ available here that covers cases like vaccine exemptions, valid types of COVID tests and more. 

My first concert since the beginning of the pandemic was at Leader Bank Pavilion at the end of August. While I was a little nervous, with the venue’s precautions and the added bonus of it being open-air I felt safe. I was also pleasantly surprised by how organized the process was. Multiple staff members were assigned to check vaccine cards or negative test results and the lines formed neatly ahead of the security gates. Ultimately, it felt amazing and unexpectedly natural to be back in the presence of live music. 

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

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