A grand reopening 

Live music making a comeback with vaccinations

With growing herd immunity comes live music.
Photo: Taelar Pollmann • The Sentry

With the likelihood of herd immunity approaching this summer, venues are posed with the daunting task of safely reopening—and the task isn’t the same for every venue. While some outdoor festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury have cancelled for another year in a row, others like Bonnaroo and Pitchfork show no such signs and are merely pushing back dates. While large festivals battle out their challenges, concert-venues work in another tier.

Chris Zacher, Executive Director of Levitt Pavillion Denver and a chairman of State of Colorado at National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) spoke to Levitt’s outlook this summer, “The booking process is really starting to ramp up,” he said. 

The Save Our Stages Act passed on Dec. 27 of last year, but as of yet, the applications process is still not open. Zacher has been working tirelessly in navigating to move that forward, along with venue operations. The venue’s first show is set for May 14 as they work through five-star certification for an optimal reopening under health department guidelines. “Going to shows this summer is gonna be way different. You’re gonna be in a pod format; you’re gonna have to show up to venues a little earlier,” Zacher said, and ticket prices are likely to be higher.  

Still, “the future’s pretty bright,” he continued. “There’s kind of two sides that I deal with: one of them is saving stages and getting people to this next level, and then the other side is operating my own venue. As an outdoor venue operator, you know, last year was just devastating. We didn’t open at all. We lost 73 percent of our overall revenue, 99 percent of our earned revenue. It was devastating. This year, with outdoor being the focus from the state, once we’re open, we’re pretty confident that we’re gonna be able to start to refill some of those coffers and make some of that income that we lost last year back. Unfortunately, it’s not gonna be the same for some of those indoor venues. I think some of the real recoveries for music venues is in 2022. People need to pay attention and keep watching cause there’s gonna be a lot of jobs open for young [people].”   

Isabelle Amato, an upcoming graduate of CU Denver’s MEIS program performed at Number 38 for the “Roots Music Project Showcase,” on March 27, and spoke similarly to the advantage of outdoor venues: “It makes people feel a lot safer; it makes it really easy to socially distance.”  

From her first show back since the pandemic’s start, navigating the new gigging climate has felt different. While the show was sold out respective to the pandemic’s capacity, “that’s not the same as an actually sold out show,” as she pointed out. Still, Amato is very excited to be performing again as things move into healing, opening up, and relaxing. “It’s just gonna take time,” she said. “It feels really good to have some sort of normalcy, and I think everybody in the gig last night was just super excited and grateful that we were getting to enjoy live music.”  

This is a selection from the April 7 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/989376735/

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