On Friday, May 15th, Bishop Gunn‘s Travis McCready is scheduled to play a live, ticketed concert at Fort Smith, Arkansas theater, TempleLive. Yes, you read that right: an actual live concert at an actual concert venue with an actual audience. Tickets for the performance are on sale now via Ticketmaster, though various significant changes to the ticketing process and the venue itself were needed to make an indoor concert in May 2020 a viable option.
First of all, the capacity of the venue has been reduced by 80%, from 1,100 to just 229. Even with just 229 people in the theater, seating assignments will be strictly enforced, as only specific, separated “pods” of seats will be available to would-be concert-goers. Furthermore, the pods are only being sold as a set, and the theater is advising that only people with whom you feel safe quarantining should fill those seats with you. Take a look at how the seating will work on the diagram below via the show’s ticketing page:
[Screengrab via Ticketmaster]
As TempleLive’s Mike Brown noted in a local TV interview, “From what we can tell this is the first announced live show in the country since we were all shut down from the COVID virus outbreak.”
Continued Brown, “This isn’t gonna be a thing to make money with, but it’s a step back towards normalcy and best practices that we can institute…The financial side is not something that we were really concerned with. We wanted to give something back to the community.” He must be sincere about this not being a financial move—each ticket is being sold for just $20 plus fees (provided you buy every ticket in that “pod”).
The Arkansas concert venue will be sanitized prior to the event, and all attendees will have their temperature screened prior to entry and will be required to wear protective masks while inside. See below for a full list of changes TempleLive is making in an attempt to make their socially-distanced concert happen:
-Capacity reduced by 80% from 1,100 to 229.
-Venue will be sanitized prior to each event via fog sprayers.
-Masks will be available for purchase if desired.
-Per CDC guidelines, one-way walk-ways in theater managed by TempleLive employees.
-6-feet of separation from all seating groups or fan pods.
-10 person limit in all restrooms.
-All soap and paper towel dispensers will be no-touch.
-Closure of bathroom fixtures to maintain 6-feet of distance during use.
-Temperatures of attendees to be taken at entry points.
-All beverages will be prepackaged or have lids.
-TempleLive employees will be actively wiping down touchpoints in venue and restrooms.
According to a new directive issued on Monday by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, “large indoor venues” in the state will be permitted to open soon as long as they follow a specific set of guidelines. Those deal points are all covered by TempleLive’s precautionary measures, except for one minor detail: The new directive doesn’t go into effect until May 18th, three days after the scheduled show with Travis McCready is scheduled to take place.
[Screengrab via Region 8 News]
Brown, however, noted that TempleLive will be flexible with regard to the governor’s restrictions [Note: The interview with Brown took place prior to the new directive announcements from the Governor]. Said Brown, “We just had to think forward to getting back to some sort of normalcy, because music and entertainment is a big part of people’s lives.”
Watch the local news interview with TempleLive’s Mike Brown on the socially-distanced concert below:
It remains to be seen whether TempleLive will attempt to move the show to take place after the new directives go into effect on May 18th. However it turns out, this could be a peek into the workings of a potential “new normal” in the live music industry. Hope you’re into “ticket pods” and drive-in concerts…
Follow along with the developing COVID-19 concert cancellation picture here.