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Arkansas venue to host first ‘socially distanced’ concert

Bishop Gunn's Travis McCready will play an acoustic show for fans spaced 1.8m apart at TempleLive, in Fort Smith, on 15 May

By IQ on 06 May 2020

Fort Smith's TempleLive can usually accomodate 1,100 people

Fort Smith's TempleLive can usually accomodate 1,100 people

image © TempleLive.com

In one of the first concerts with a live audience since the touring industry ground to a halt in March, Fort Smith, Arkansas, venue TempleLive has announced it will host a live show by singer Travis McCready later this month.

McCready, singer with country-rock band Bishop Gunn, will perform an acoustic set at the former Masonic hall on 15 May. In keeping with social distancing guidelines, audience members will be sat six feet apart, with only 229 tickets sold for the 1,100-capacity venue.

According to the Arkansas Times, the show will be held under what the venue is calling its ‘Covid operating protocol’, with capacity reduced 80% and fans sat 6’ (1.83m) apart in clusters of between two and 12, dubbed ‘fan pods’.

Tickets are priced at US$20 each, although the purchaser must buy all seats in a particular pod (to ensure they’re sat only with people with whom they’ve been isolating) to check out. At press time, Ticketmaster had groups of four, five, six and 12 tickets available for purchase, as well as two remaining two-person pods for disabled fans.

Other measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at TempleLive include one-way entrances and exits, a ten-person limit in the venue’s toilets and only pre-packaged/sealed food and beverage options. The venue will also be sanitised with fog sprayers before every performance, while patrons will have their temperatures taken to check for illness before entry.

Tickets are priced at $20 each, although the purchaser must buy all seats in a particular ‘pod’ to check out

Face masks will also be available for purchase before the show.

The announcement of the concert follows a directive by Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson that says theatres and other large venues will be allowed to reopen as of 18 May – albeit with fewer than 50 people in attendance.

Speaking to Billboard, Mike Brown of TempleLive said he is confident the McCready show will be allowed to go ahead, despite apparently not complying with the governor’s guidelines. “If you are a church [for example], there are no restrictions on how many people you can have inside as long as they follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines and stay six feet apart,” he explains.

“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.”

“We’ve got a lot of time and there is an open line of communication,” he adds, “and I am the eternal optimist. I think we will be alright.”


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