Tennis Tours North America COVID-19 Free

A long line wraps around the venue. Fans wait with anticipation to watch their favorite band on stage. Before entering, attendees throw on their masks, take out vaccine cards and IDs and get ready to present them to security. Gone are the days of scanning a printed ticket and rushing into the venue to claim the best spot. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, artists and venues are now taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of all parties involved when attending a concert. Despite the pandemic, Tennis toured North America COVID-19-free.  

No one could foresee what was to come in January 2020, after the first case of COVID-19 had been reported in the U.S. Fans received refunds on tickets, concerts rescheduled, then postponed and then rescheduled and postponed again. It quickly became clear — concerts were a safety hazard until further notice. As a result, live streams of performances grew in popularity. Artists felt the growing need to connect with their fans. And although we can all listen to our favorite bands on Spotify, it’s a completely different experience live. 

303 Magazine, Christian Garcia, Denver Music, Denver, 303 Music, Red Rocks, Tennis, Tennis Swimmer, Tennis Denver, Tennis Red Rocks, Alden Bonecuttter

Photo by Alden Bonecuttter

Thankfully, due to the widespread administration of COVID-19 vaccines, concerts were able to resume with CDC and local state officials’ precautions. After holding onto tickets, fans could catch their favorite bands live again. However, that meant receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and wearing a face mask to enter a venue. For artists, that meant getting creative. Tour pods ensured safety. Meeting fans after the show no longer became an option. Sacrifices had to be made to perform on the road. 

For the band Tennis, that meant postponing their tour three times before finally being able to perform a year and a half later. Their new tour would begin at the end of September and take them to the end of November. One half of the band, Alaina Moore, talks about the group’s tour environment: 

“It was stressful. The stakes felt very high and they were. It meant touring without the simple pleasures of going to a nice restaurant or bar or having family backstage after a show. But the experience bonded our touring party since we only had each other, and made us incredibly grateful for every show we played.” 

303 Magazine, Christian Garcia, Denver Music, Denver, 303 Music, Red Rocks, Tennis, Tennis Swimmer, Tennis Denver, Tennis Red Rocks, Alden Bonecuttter

Photo by Alden Bonecuttter

In this unique instance, both fans and the band put themselves at risk to go back to the good old days of enjoying live music. After triple postponement, it felt like the right time to take the appropriate risks, while still maintaining safety guidelines. When asked about the risks involved Moore stated: 

“We traveled with a small crew. Everyone had at least two jobs. Our drummer ran monitors, our bass player built out our stage design, Patrick and I tour managed. Everyone was vaccinated, we tested regularly and wore masks at all times. No guests were allowed backstage. Our band and crew made a lot of sacrifices to make the tour work and it was a success. We made it through 8 weeks on the road without a single COVID case.”

In order to tour successfully, communication with venues felt more important than ever. With the changes in COVID-19 and cases rising, it meant setting boundaries for the band. Tennis required attendees to provide proof of vaccination and fans to wear masks while entering the venue. But of course, local guidelines varied from state to state. As a result, not every venue was willing to oblige due to local and state mandates. Moore explained their trials:

“Most venues worked very hard to keep everyone safe and were very accommodating. A few disappointed us in their unwillingness to wear masks, and a few shows had to be canceled because the venue was unable to follow our COVID protocol. Overall, it was a positive experience and we hope that venues maintain some of the new policies like ‘COVID cleaning,’ which is honestly just cleaning to a proper standard of cleanliness that all venues should have been doing anyway.”

303 Magazine, Christian Garcia, Denver Music, Denver, 303 Music, Red Rocks, Tennis, Tennis Swimmer, Tennis Denver, Tennis Red Rocks, Alden Bonecuttter

Photo by Alden Bonecuttter

Check out a review of Tennis at Red Rocks earlier this year.

Moreover, fans have been eager to watch their favorite artists live, and most are willing to do what it takes to attend a concert. After a year of quarantine, it’s no surprise — people wanted to feel a sense of community after being separated for so long, and music brings people together in ways other art mediums cannot. When the lights dim and the show begins, it’s all worth it. Moore shared the sentiment:

“There was a mutual feeling of gratitude. Everyone made a sacrifice to be at that show: the audience, the venue staff and the band. We all had skin in the game and it provided a sense of closeness — like we skipped right to the part where we knew each other intimately.” 

Although Tennis has toured for years, this tour was different. There’s no written playbook on how to tour during a pandemic. For better or worse, COVID-19 impacted every aspect of tour life. Moore explained:

“COVID cast a shadow over the tour that was impossible to ignore. It was in the back of everyone’s minds all the time. Everyone was always talking about someone they knew who just got COVID and then everyone would superstitiously douse themselves in hand sanitizer. Giving up control had its benefits though. On stage, I felt uniquely present, very grounded in the experience of the show.”

303 Magazine, Christian Garcia, Denver Music, Denver, 303 Music, Red Rocks, Tennis, Tennis Swimmer, Tennis Denver, Tennis Red Rocks

Photo provided by Tennis

When asked if the band would change anything about their experience they replied:

“No. We had nearly two years to plan for the tour and we did everything right. I’m really proud of our band/crew and our support band Molly Burch who traveled in a pod with us.” 

What’s next for Tennis?

“Another album and another tour. The cycle continues.”