America’s first post-coronavirus concert with a live audience may go off on May 15, 2020. Whether it does or not, the guidelines and restrictions show the strange “new normal” if shows are allowed to go on again.
Arkansas is set to lift a ban on live performances on May 18, but three days earlier a show by frontman Travis McCready of Southern Rock band Bishop Gunn will take place in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The first thing you notice is this:
This hieroglyphic-looking map is a chart of the available seats which will be available for the show. They are separated in line with social distancing guidelines. The 1,100 seat venue will have its capacity drawn down 80% to just 229, scattered throughout the venue.
Each small group of tickets that are next to each other (the blue dots) are being dubbed “fan pods” (after whales, I suppose). They have to be purchased together in groups of two to thirteen seats, a minimum of six feet apart from other fan pods. Individual tickets are not available, and all purchases must be made for an entire group which will be seated together throughout the show.
The map comes from the Ticketmaster event page, which began showing an error after word of the concert spread today (Edit: It’s working again.) The promoter, Temple Live, has an event page up with the ticket link pointing to TicketMaster.
According to Temple Live’s event page, they have implemented a “COVID OPERATING PROTOCOL” which includes the venue being sanitized by “fog sprayers,” one-way traffic through aisles, a 10 person limit in all restrooms (which seems unlikely to be a problem with only 200 people in attendance), mandatory temperature checks at the door and facemasks on the spot for purchase.
News of the concert broke last week on local NBC News affiliate KNWA. An interview with Temple Live Vice President Mike Brown posted this afternoon explains that while Arkansas’ ban on live events won’t be lifted until May 18 (outdoor events can take place now, but with a cap of 50 people), Brown feels the concert industry is being “discriminated against.”
“I don’t understand the difference between 200 people at a church service [which is being permitted] or 200 people at a music event,” Brown says.
If the show is cancelled, tickets will be refunded, Brown told KNWA.