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Live music concerts are starting to reappear during the Covid-19 recovery. This is what you can expect if you go

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A concert at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater outside of Denver.

John P Kelly | The unpublished image bank | Getty Images

When Riley Cash, 31, of Denver, received her second vaccine shot earlier this month, the next big event on her agenda was a concert at the nearby Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater.

The outdoor venue reopened this month with limited capacity and four evenings of shows from a band named Lotus.

The fact that the concerts are already coming back was a surprise, Cash said. But after a year of working from home, he couldn’t wait to see one of his favorite acts live.

Tickets cost around $ 91 per person, more than Cash expected. But he said he considered himself and his friend lucky to be able to get tickets a few days after they went on sale.

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“I just want to go do something,” he said.

Some smaller, open-air concert halls are starting to open up and offer limited-capacity performances in the hopes of finding attendees who feel the same.

Anecdotally, these places say they are struggling to fill the seats they are able to afford.

“We haven’t had a single show that we put on sale that hasn’t blown up right away,” spokesman Brian Kitts said of Red Rocks, which is located near Morrison, Colo.

The outdoor yoga series offered by Red Rocks also sold quickly, he said.

While it still feels like a long way from other forms of indoor entertainment like opera and ballet that may reopen, initial sales of available events showed a stronger start than expected, Kitts said. .

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That’s a big deal for the city-owned site, which lost around $ 52 million last year.

“No one saw this coming,” Kitts said.

“Every night we have 400 people working on the site, and all of those jobs are gone overnight,” he said.

Dixie Strange, 30, in a morning yoga session on August 22, 2020 at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado.

Mark Makela | Getty Images News | Getty Images

As the show season begins, ticket prices have generally not gone up, to the credit of bands and promoters, Kitts said.

But new Covid-19 protocols are in place.

There is no temperature control at the door, nor a requirement to present proof of vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test.

But other precautions have been created. There is six feet of space between groups of ticket holders, which now occupy only every other row. Masks are mandatory in interior spaces, such as bathrooms or the reception center.

The site has also implemented contactless payment systems for all transactions.

We haven’t had a single show that we put on sale that didn’t explode right away. “

Brian kitts

Red Rocks spokesperson

Some of the concert dates canceled in 2020 have moved to 2021. Yet new acts are clamoring to be on the calendar as late as October or even November, Kitts said.

“We will never again take for granted the ability to come together as a community and see a concert or go to a sporting event,” Kitts said.

While some venues report strong ticket sales initially, a recent Bankrate.com survey found that only 16% of adults have purchased tickets to a live event.

Music concerts or festivals were the most popular, with 8% of respondents. Next come live theater or comedy, 6%; professional sports or university games, 5%; or other live events requiring tickets, 2%.

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One of the reasons for the poor survey results, which date to the end of March, may be that consumers are still being battered by the money they lost due to the events of last year, Rossman said. , Senior Industry Analyst at Bankrate.com.

“We found last year that almost half of the people who had tickets to these events last year lost money,” Rossman said. “And I think a lot of people are shy as a result.”

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Buying tickets is now a “calculated risk” that you can get your money back or credit if things can’t go as planned.

But Bankrate.com has found that when people buy tickets, they spend an average of $ 227 on concerts and music festivals, $ 191 on live comedy or theater, and $ 387 on games and sporting events.

Some of these costs may include additional security protocols.

For some sites, implementing these processes was essential in attracting participants.

Rhett Miller performs at City Winery NYC on April 3, 2021 in New York City.

Taylor Hill | Entertainment Getty Images | Getty Images

At the City Winery in New York, the seating capacity will be increased to 150, from the current 100 attendees per show starting May 1.

This date will also mark the start of a new vaccination policy only for spectators, who can present evidence by using the CLEAR app and completing a questionnaire in advance. Those who have not received the inoculation can get around the rule by taking a Covid-19 test in advance or on site on the day of the event.

“We are very excited to get things done. So there is psychological comfort in being in a bubble knowing that everyone around you has also been vaccinated, ”said Michael Dorf, CEO and President of City Winery.

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Even so, the concert hall has no plans to loosen up on protocols, especially when it comes to wearing masks, until the government agrees, Dorf said.

City Winery has struggled with different rules and capacity restrictions at its other locations in cities like Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta and Chicago.

Seeing the live music ecosystem start to emerge again was deeply powerful and very moving.

Michael dorf

CEO and President, City Winery

But one constant remains the same: the appetite of fans to watch live music again.

“Anything that we can put up for sale now… is sold very quickly with enthusiasm,” said Dorf.

Like many sites, City Winery has struggled over the past year amid the shutdown, dealing with rent, utility bills and ongoing payrolls.

But he has tried to keep the prices of his tickets, which are mostly driven by artists’ salaries, in check. Several nightly shows helped offset limited ticket sales due to reduced capacity.

As the pandemic continues to fade, Dorf said he also hopes those restrictions go with it.

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The introductory joke he tells audiences before each show is always the same, he said.

“Please don’t get used to so much space there,” Dorf said. “We will encumber you and jam you out here as soon as possible.”

The biggest reward was seeing the joy the performers feel to come back to the stage and witness it to the audience.

“To see the live music ecosystem begin to reemerge was deeply powerful and very moving,” said Dorf.

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