The similarities between the 2020s and the 1920s are impossible to ignore. So will our version of post-pandemic life be Gatsby-esque? Or will things just…go back to normal?
The Roaring Twenties came on the heels of the end of a war and our last major global pandemic. The timeline was bleak: WW1 was fought from 1914-1918, and the Spanish Flu ravaged the globe from 1918-1920.
Spanish Flu mitigation efforts were eerily similar to the CDC’s SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus recommendations, and included hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing, with one major exception – the masks of yesteryear were made of gauze and cheesecloth, which by current standards, sounds more like an entrée presentation at The French Laundry, rather than something that will prevent illness and painful death.
A debate about freedoms and rights regarding mask wearing wasn’t a factor back then; citizens faced strict fines and imprisonment if they were caught unmasked.
Post-WW1, and post-pandemic, things started looking up. The 1920s ushered in an era of economic growth and widespread prosperity, credited to deferred wartime spending and frankly, a massive sigh of relief. Mass production efforts for the war turned to consumer needs, and explosive strides and innovation in the automotive, film, radio and chemical industries made everything seem possible.
Cue: Jazz. Gold. Glitz. Glamour. Art deco. Celebrity. Cars. Film. Flappers. It was a new day, a new decade, and the first truly modern era.
People were longing for connection and celebrating life to the fullest. Sounds kinda great, eh?
So is that what’s in store for this century’s post-pandemic life? With the rapid dissemination of the COVID-19 vaccine, and fast-dropping morbidity rates, do we dare start imagining a return to glitz and glam? Or at the very least, a weekend without athleisure apparel?
Oh, yes. We dare.
Our version of the 20s is unlikely to be quite as life-changing as that of the last century. After all, average consumers already have refrigerators, washing machines and cars.
However, we anticipate an explosion of creativity, events, and gatherings as soon as the end of 2021, with an explosion of excess and celebration in 2022.
The pandemic has catastrophically impacted many industries – including our own – but a little silver lining is that the overall economy isn’t as bad as we’ve previously experienced (looking at you, The Great Recession). We’re currently struggling with a depressed demand issue, simply because we cannot safely gather in large groups.
People want to go out. They want to get dressed up, meet friends for dinner, belly up to a bar, and listen to live music. We’re collectively craving fantastical experiences and making memories at unforgettable events. We’re connected by technology, but nothing duplicates the energy of a crowd, and the simple joy of a hug from a friend. That’s depressed demand, and it’s miserable.
All that will change soon and we. are. ready.
For the Decibel team, the physical isolation and fatigue of being grounded in one place, unable to fully do what we do best, has been rough. We’re so close to the (vaccinated) finish line, and can’t wait to get out and create amazing events for our partners and clientele. Bring on the planes, trains and automobiles, this is going to be the Touring Twenties for us!
While these 20s may trade street murals and memes for art deco, and have Tik Tokers and twerkers instead of flappers, if history repeats itself, as it often does, we have a lot to look forward to.