“I’m over the fear of crowds”: Here’s how the jubilant Maroon 5 concertgoers felt walking into the venue

“I’m over the fear of crowds”: Here’s how the jubilant Maroon 5 concertgoers felt walking into the venue

In early September, Maroon Five fans descended onto Budweiser Stage for one of the first major concerts since the province opened up. The atmosphere was humming with excitement, and fans overwhelmingly supported the safety protocols, which required concertgoers to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test before entering. We spoke to a few people about what it’s like to get back to live music.


Aminah Kirefu, a 19-year-old student at Waterloo

“It is incurably exciting to be here—we’ve been waiting a long time for this. It feels a lot safer since they require vaccination proof or a negative Covid test. Plus it’s outdoors, so I’m not entirely concerned about being in a large crowd. I think those measures are keeping concertgoers safe.”


Charlene Insley (left), a 48-year-old dental assistant from Wellington

Oh my God, it feels a little unreal. We were having dinner an hour ago and were like, ‘I can’t believe we’re going to a concert tonight.’ It’s been so long since we’ve been able to do a public event. It’s a little scary, I guess, but it’s okay. I’m over the fear of crowds. You do everything you can: we got vaccinated and we wear our masks, but sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and enjoy yourself, too. We’re quite happy with the protocols. I was surprised when they came out with these rules at the last minute, but gives you a bit of extra insurance for a venue like this.”


Fatima Mehdiyeva, a 21-year-old financial accounting student from Toronto

I moved here two years ago from Azerbaijan, and I’ve spent the whole time in lockdown. This is my first concert in Toronto, and I’m very excited it. I feel safe in the crowd. I have my mask and my hand sanitizer—I will be good.”


Audrey Cung, a 27-year-old treasury analyst from Toronto

It feels unreal, like the world is coming back to normal—sort of. It’s nice. I’m double-vaccinated, so I feel safe. I also appreciate the rules and the social distancing protocols.”


Zach Jones, a 20-year-old biology student from Cambridge, and Claire Zanin and Maddy Zanin, both 20, biomedicine students from Toronto

Zach: “This is actually my first concert ever—I’m a big fan of the band. To be in a venue full of people, it just feels normal again. I’ve been looking forward to events like this. And it gives everyone a sense of safety knowing that we’ve all gone through the proper steps.”


Erin Bruce, a 17-year-old high-school student, and Kayce Bruce, a 22-year-old fast-food worker, both from Peterborough

Erin: “I don’t really feel safe in a crowd, but with the precautions, hopefully that will be enough.”

Kayce: “I’m a bit wary. The rules are great and all, but not everyone follows them. Even where I work, not everyone follows the rules on the daily. Now that we’re here in the big city, it feels a little bit intimidating. I think the promoters are doing their best, but nothing’s fully guaranteed. I’m taking a risk coming—and the protocols make me feel better and more confident—so I hope everything goes well.”


Vernon Ayiku, a 28-year-old television producer from Toronto

“I’m not too concerned about Covid; I’m just really excited to be here. I got both my shots, and there’s not much else I can do, so I might as well go out again. Honestly, as long as it keeps people safe and gets us back to normal life, I’m all for these protocols.”


Isabella Robledo, a 25-year-old business administration student from Manizales, Colombia

I’m so excited to be back in a crowded place. It’s been more than a year without concerts. I feel safe because I have my two vaccines, and everyone around me either has the vaccine or a negative test. I like the requirements, but there are some people who don’t want to be vaccinated, and we can’t force them. If they want to go to a concert a movie or bar, they can’t do it. We live in a free country, but we have to follow these rules to live our life.”


Claire Desrocher, a 19-year-old biomedical science student from Toronto

“I’m super-excited, I love going to concerts and I’ve had these tickets for a year and a half, so I’m really happy to be here. It’s outside and everyone has be double vaccinated or present a negative test result—I was really happy to see that. It makes me feel a lot better about coming. Plus everyone has masks on, so I feel really safe.”


Angela McNeil, a 53-year-old retired insurance professional from Burlington

“It feels good to get back out again. I was feeling shack-happy and isolated. I got my vaccines, I did what I’m supposed to do, and now I’m just hoping that it all works, and we can get going. The protocols are good, but I’m ready for this all to be done.”


Ariane Matro, a 23-year-old personal support worker (on maternity leave) from Toronto

Oh, it’s my first time out in so long. I can’t tell you how excited I am right now. I’m cool with the protocols. Everyone should be fully vaccinated—it’s for your own protection, of course. Putting a mask on is fine, but if I feel excited and wanna scream, I might just do it.”


John Miguel, a 28-year-old retail worker from Toronto

It’s surreal being here. I can’t believe it. I was actually scared that it wouldn’t happen, But you’ve got to follow the protocols, and mandating a double vaccine is great too. I’m a bit worried about the crowd because I have a little one at home; I gotta take care of myself and my family and be safe, but I listen to the protocols, and I feel good.”


Jace Dafoe-Livingstone, a 17-year-old student from Norwood

“I’m very excited. This is my second concert ever. I feel safe because I’m double vaccinated, and hopefully everyone else at least has a single dose. Plus, I feel good about the protocols. At least they’re checking and making sure everyone’s safe.”


Amanda Silver, a 44-year-old administrative assistant from Burlington

“This is like my first concert in two years, so I feel good, but the idea of a million people in there breathing on me is a bit scary. I do feel good about the protocols, because hopefully no one in there has Covid.”


Simone Bernardo, a 21-year-old English literature student, and Camille Bernardo, a 15-year-old high-school student, both from Mississauga

Simone: “Honestly, I didn’t expect concerts to be back so soon. But the protocols are the right way to go about it. I didn’t think they’d actually be scanning people for the proof, I thought they’d just let people go in. Now that I know they’re screening, I feel really effing good!”

Camille: “It’s exciting because it’s my first concert. Like my sister said, it’s still a bit iffy considering we’re going back to stuff like this so soon, but I’m excited nonetheless. The fact that they’re making sure people are vaccinated or tested negative makes me feel safer.”