And now, time for some actually useful advice from seasoned road dog and tour manager to the stars (the Hold Steady, Drive-By-Truckers, and others—but who’s asking?) Dave Burton. Today’s inquiry: How to tour during covid-19?
You’re no longer on tour. After spending the better part of two years splayed out on the sofa in the Heisman pose, pining for more Phoebe Waller–Bridge and the penultimate Peaky Blinders, it's time to go make the donuts. You’ve picked your nose in Poughkeepsie, NY ‘til the cows have come home. You’ve sent out more resumes than you can count and did a coin toss between the U.S. postal service and a white dude’s taqueria, and opted for the latter as your professional pivot. When the touring finally starts off again, you’re vaccinated, boosted, and ready to roll.
But it ain’t til the end of the pandemic until you get back in the saddle for a week in the upper Midwest. After all the over-priced covid tests, double-masking, hyper-diligence, and delta avoidance, you’ve managed to stay footloose and rona free, and plan to stay that way.
Your first proper tour culminates with the Omicron variant kicking down the doors. The routing is drawn through all of COVID-ia. You are prepared with an army’s worth of KN95 masks and rapid tests to match. You call all of your cronies to gauge their covid protocols. The gamut ranges from EMTs and covid compliance officers to a weekly test of one person in the van, thinking if one’s got it, they all do.