Safe In Sound Reopening Guide For Live Music Venues

Chicago Independent Venue League's guidance for front and back of house, patrons and performers.

Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) in conjunction with National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has created a checklist called Safe In Sound to help independent music venues safely and responsibly welcome back live music. The Safe In Sound guide is available to download.


Live events were among the first sectors of the American economy to close at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are only now starting to reopen, usually at reduced capacities. The long layoff has had a devastating effect on concerts, festivals, sporting events, theatrical performances, corporate activations, and all the people whose livelihood depends on these activities.


The following checklist and explanations will help you understand your risk mitigation decisions as you reopen and increase occupancy limits. There will be challenges: many people are vaccinated, but the United States has not yet achieved herd immunity; everyone owns a face covering, but convincing them to wear it requires effort; physical distancing is well known, but people want to be together after more than a year apart.


We are not epidemiologists, we are event industry professionals, so we have followed the science from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts. Even in this unsettled economic, social, and public health environment, the one non-negotiable goal is putting life safety first. Everything else involves choices.


The guidance below is by no means exhaustive. This checklist is intended to help you make reasonable health and safety choices under your own circumstances. In addition to the CDC guidance, which supplements state and local health and safety laws, organizations should work in conjunction with their local authorities, including applicable health departments, and stay current on local health conditions, as guidance and circumstances can vary from locale to locale.

Safe In Sound Reopening Guide For Live Music Venues (download)

PDF - 2.1 Mb

About CIVL | Chicago Independent Venue League

Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) advocates on behalf of Chicago’s independently owned and operated concert venues and music halls. Founded in 2018, CIVL works to ensure the long-term viability of its member venues so they may continue to provide event-goers with enjoyable live music experiences.

Chicago’s reputation as a world renowned live music hub is largely due to independently owned and operated music venues’ legacies of nurturing homegrown talent. Performers from every genre are afforded opportunities to earn national recognition. More than 50 CIVL member venues proudly represent Chicago’s culture and musical style.

CIVL is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization. Visit for more information or to contribute.


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