Country singer Travis McCready of the band Bishop Gunn will play the first known live music show in Arkansas on May 15, three days before the state plans to officially re-open concert venues.
The show is being billed as an “intimate acoustic set” and will involve limited ticket sales to allow social distancing of groups of concertgoers. Ticketmaster is calling the groupings “fan pods,” which may be a term that is commonly used going forward for live music concerts, according to Spin.
Only 229 tickets will be sold for a venue that normally seats 1,100, and temperatures will be taken before patrons will be allowed to attend. Masks will also be required.
Will the “new normal” limit virus spread?
The show will take place in Fort Smith at the city’s TempleLive venue, and walkways and restrooms will also be restricted to allow social distancing. Bathroom fixtures will be no contact, and some may be blocked off if they don’t allow people to remain six feet apart.
Only 10 people will be allowed in restrooms at a time. Food purchases will also be restricted, with items being individually wrapped and all beverages being covered.
The venue will also be sanitized between concerts by fog sprayers, and venue staff will be sanitizing touchpoints frequently during the show.
The show needs permission to go on
Governor Asa Hutchinson could technically shutter the show because it takes place before the official reopening date, but concert organizers are working with the state government and believe it will go on as planned.
“The governor has done a great job with his administration and how he has handled this,” TempleLive representative Mike Brown told Billboard, adding that the venue was also in contact with the health department. “If you are a church, there are no restrictions on how many people you can have inside as long as they follow CDC guidelines and stay six feet apart.
Brown said it would not be fair to treat concert venues differently than churches. “So our position is, a public gathering is a public gathering regardless of the reason, whether you are going to go to a quilting event, a church or a concert. Tell me the difference, because in our opinion it is discriminatory.”
“A safe option”
Brown acknowledged that many people who previously attended concerts might still be worried about being in a larger group because of the possibility of coming into contact with the virus.
“Ultimately they’re going to choose whether or not to come and I’m okay with either decision, but for those folks that do want to come out, I think this will be a safe option for them,” Brown told KNWA.
The venue will probably not make money from the show, but Brown said that was okay. “We wanted to give something back to the community,” he said. “This is not a thing to make money with, but it is a step back towards more normalcy and best practices that we can institute.”