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Punk Rock Bowling Announces Its 2021 Lineup, Really?

Punk Rock Bowling

Punk Rock Bowling


To my great surprise, Punk Rock Bowling just announced its upcoming lineup, scheduled for September 24-26 2021, in Downtown Las Vegas. The lineup is interesting but are they delusional? was my first reaction. Will we be able to hold a crowded festival in just a few months when there is still so much incertitude regarding the evolution of the pandemic? It’s true we can hope that a large percentage of the population will be vaccinated by September, but this announcement in February, when all other major tours and festivals have been canceled for 2021, sounds truly optimistic.

What about the possible next peak that some are announcing due to the spread of new variants of the virus? If there is some kind of normalcy and ‘back to normal’ by the end of this year, it will probably be gradual, with a period of transition where social distancing and masks will still be de rigueur… How can you practice social distancing in a music festival? Punk Rock Bowling is a rather small festival, which also organizes plenty of shows outside the festival grounds, in the small bars and clubs of downtown Las Vegas. According to their announcement, everything seems to be in the program: 3-day outdoor and 4 nights of after-parties, pool parties, and, of course, bowling…. So forget about physical distancing.

To me their ‘we will see you in the pit’ sounds very optimistic and premature at best. When I read it, it sounded almost surreal. We have been avoiding our own species for a year now, and you are telling me that, in a few months, people will be jumping at the top of each other, exchanging sweat and blood as if the pandemic had never existed? Allow me some skepticism.

Punk Rock Bowling has already postponed the festival dates three times since the beginning of the crisis, so I understand they are very impatient to come back. If we are really in a semi-post COVID world in September, people are gonna be insanely happy to celebrate. Imagine your first festival after the pandemic being this one, with this lineup: Devo, NOFX (who pissed off Las Vegas last time!), and Circle Jerks, but also two of my favorite punk bands, the terrific Ho99o9, the well-named-for-our-times Plague Vendor. One can hope, one can dream.

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