Safe In Sound

The BSO’s reopening plan for Tanglewood was developed through months of work by more than 100 individuals including BSO staff, Board and musicians with expert guidance from 9 Foundations, Inc. led by Dr. Joseph G. Allen. Under the core planning principle that health and safety are paramount, the roadmap for returning to live programs at Tanglewood is grounded in a layered approach designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and is based on the best available science and a philosophy of holistic risk reduction. The health and safety framework includes the following essential elements to establish a safe environment for concertgoers, visitors, musicians, volunteers, and staff: personal protection, physical distancing, fresh air and reduction of high-risk activities.

Read the 2021 Tanglewood Announcement

This Tanglewood Town Hall, recorded on Monday, May 10, discusses Tanglewood’s reopening, our policies and protocols, and how this summer will feel.


In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone at Tanglewood, we need your participation. Please review the new policies and procedures that will be part of your experience so we can welcome everyone back to the grounds this summer.


Stay at Home If: You are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, a sore throat, chills, cough, shortness of breath, congestion, nausea, or vomiting).

You’ve been in close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms within the past 14 days.

You’ve been directed to self-isolate or quarantine by a health care provider or public health official. Please follow the CDC guidelines and any relevant state travel guidelines.

You are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.


All concertgoers, employees, musicians and grounds visitors will be required to wear masks to cover both the nose and mouth at all times (except when eating or drinking) in order to protect themselves and others regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. Concertgoers and visitors are required to bring their own masks, which we recommend follow CDC guidelines.


Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Hand sanitizer will be widely available on the Tanglewood grounds.


There will be secure contactless mobile ticketing for 2021, which will reduce physical touchpoints on the grounds. More traditional ticket delivery options will also be available. We recommend buying tickets ahead of time wherever possible to further reduce contact.


The BSO will create and enforce policies to limit crowd density through physical distancing and reducing or eliminating gatherings in small spaces.

Box offices and entry gates will be reconfigured to reduce congestion. Foot traffic patterns will also be modified to limit queuing or crowding at the box offices, gates, food service areas, and restrooms.

All public events will take place within the immediate vicinity of the Koussevitzky Music Shed. Buildings outside of this zone, including Ozawa Hall and the Linde Center for Music and Learning, will be accessible only to staff and musicians. However, all outdoor areas will be accessible so visitors can enjoy Tanglewood’s natural beauty.

Tanglewood staff and security will monitor for noncompliance of patron policies. Those not following these policies will be asked to comply or leave the premises.


We are reducing the seating capacity of the Koussevitzky Music Shed as well as its lawn seating area. Seating in the Shed will be physically distanced by maintaining empty seats between parties. Lawn patrons will receive ground coverings at entry to define their personal space. These coverings must be placed by patrons in a manner to maintain social distancing from other audience members outside their group. A limit of three physically connected grounds coverings is allowed among members of the same group. Tanglewood staff will be available to assist in this process as needed.

Shed seating and lawn seating

Concert programs will not exceed 80 minutes and will be presented without intermission.

All public performances will take place in the open-air Koussevitzky Music Shed and utilize expansive outdoor spaces surrounding the Shed. Upgrades to indoor air ventilation and filtration improve conditions for all indoor spaces.

To reduce potential aerosol transmission, certain programmatic elements, such as vocal music, will not take place.


All Tanglewood restrooms will be monitored to maintain COVID-19 standards for airflow, pressurization, and exhaust. Restroom attendants, specifically trained in COVID safety protocols, will monitor and control the flow of people in and out of the facilities. The BSO will also use enhanced cleaning protocols in accordance with all standard COVID-19 recommendations.


Tanglewood will introduce a new mobile ordering system for food and beverage that will feature contactless delivery or pick-up dining options at select locations. Two dining locations will provide covered, outdoor, and physically distanced table seating. The same new mobile ordering system for food and beverage will be used for retail purchases, as the Glass Houses will be closed to avoid indoor congregation. Items will be available for pickup at a tent near Tanglewood’s Main Gate.


Staff will take part in rigorous training to ensure familiarity with all safety protocols and procedures and provide for safe patron compliance.

Orchestra and staff will follow COVID protocols including regular health screenings, universal mask wearing and following physical distancing requirements.