By Paul Reznikoff, Digital Music News | The concert, slated to happen in Fort Smith, Arkansas this Friday, May 15th, is almost sold out (and still live on Ticketmaster’s site at the time of this writing). But despite extensive measures to keep patrons socially-distanced, temperature-checked, and fully masked throughout the show, the governor of Arkansas has taken steps to shut the performance down.
“That concert does not have our approval,” Hutchinson told reporters. “It would happen three days before the authorized date, as well as a few other problems. We’ve looked at their plan, and the plan is insufficient as well.” Soon after making that declaration, a cease-and-desist order was issued to the venue planning the event, TempleLive.
If the order is defied, Hutchinson threatened to revoke TempleLive’s liquor license. That alone could severely impact the venue, though the state also has other weapons at its disposal, including a full revocation of the venue’s business permit. Still, TempleLive has not yet canceled the gig, and still lists it on its website.
“We’ve put all the protocols in place,” TempleLive’s Mike Brown told a local news outlet. “We’ve gone from a health and science issue to nothing but petty politics.”
The event itself, if somehow permitted, would be an incredibly complicated affair.
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Original News: America’s First Socially-Distanced Concert Is Gonna Be Complicated — Temperature Checks, ‘Fan Pods,’ One-Way Corridors, Plus Pre-Show ‘Fog Sprayers’
By Paul Reznikoff, Digital Music News | Nobody said hosting America’s first socially-distanced concert was going to be easy. But for country-rock artist Travis McCready of Bishop Gunn, apparently it’s worth it. The show, slated for this Friday, May 15th at TempleLive in Fort Smith, Arkansas, will only be sold at 20% capacity so that people can keep their distance from one another. As a result, the normal venue capacity of 1,100 will be chopped to 229.
But that’s just one of a long list of restrictions and rules that will accompany the show. According to Ticketmaster, which is fulfilling tickets for the event, buyers will be permitted to enjoy the show in groups, but only in restricted ‘fan pods.’ Each pod, in turn, must be at least six feet from any other nearby pod, and no pod can exceed 12 people.
And of course, everyone will be required to wear a mask throughout the entire performance (those who don’t have a mask can purchase one at the venue). Additionally, temperature checks will be taken at the entrance. Most likely, those who are turned away won’t be getting refunds.
For those that have a mask and pass the temperature check, the next challenge is finding the assigned seat. Anyone hoping to enjoy balcony seating will not be permitted to use the elevator, and all hallways and corridors will be one-way only. A majority of the seating rows will be walled off by caution tape.
All beverages will either be prepackaged or have a lid, which sounds reasonable enough. But bathrooms will be limited to 10 people at a time, and “all soap and paper towel dispensers will be no-touch.” Beyond that, all bathroom fixtures will be unusable, so that people can maintain a six-foot distance from one another.
As for the staff, it looks like disinfecting will be a non-stop chore. Before anyone sets foot into the venue, the entire place will be doused with a disinfecting mist: “Venue will be sanitized by independent third party prior to each event via fog sprayers,” the site advises.
On top of all of that, there’s a small issue with the governor of Arkansas. “As advertised, this concert does not comply with our Department of Health directives for indoor entertainment venues,” state governor Asa Huthinson emailed the New York Times. “I appreciate the venue owners’ working to enforce social distancing and the wearing of masks to protect the concertgoers, but the concert remains outside of the state’s pandemic directive.”
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