After the Chase Rice and Chris Janson concerts last weekend, which garnered in a firestorm of criticism from fellow artists like Kelsea Ballerini, Mickey Guyton, Jason Isbelland more, it became clear that we have to find a better way to do this.
For the sake of the music industry, the artists, the crews, and the venues… we have to find a way to get concerts up and running again. But for the sake of the public safety and health (priority #1), we have to find a way to do it properly. Chase’s concert in East Tennessee took a number of precautions but they weren’t properly enforced. When the lights came on, fans rushed the stage and all hell broke loose.
However, Granger Smith hosted a 4th of July concert at a minor league ballpark outside of Austin this past weekend and by all accounts, it went off without a hitch.
According to the Round Rock Express website, the ballpark limited capacity to less than 25%, marked socially distanced squares for fans on the field (along with wide walkways) and they also spaced out seats in the bowl. They required masks, took temperatures at the gate, provided sanitizer, took the necessary safety precautions with food and beverages and even instituted a dismissal system so fans wouldn’t all leave at the same time. They also put a barrier in front of the stage so fans couldn’t run up to it and required fans to stay in their squared when the show was going on.
Granger praised the group effort on Instagram:
“An amazing job last night from the city of Round Rock TX, the Round Rock Express and all the fans who joined in a unified effort to achieve a properly executed socially distanced concert.
I am so proud of the extensive planning that could (potentially) become a blueprint for many more across the country for all genres.
Music can heal. Music can restore. Music can save lives. We can make sure music still gets delivered with cooperation at all levels of an event like this.”
Granger and the good people of Round Rock Express showed us that we can do this and that when the proper safety measures are put in place, and more importantly enforced, live music can happen.
Of course, there are tons of other questions and concerns about the sustainability of concerts like this… can venues afford to operate at low capacities like this? How does this translate to smaller venues? Can smaller venues even try to replicate this model at all? And right now, nobody has all the answers, but what we do have is a very important step in the right direction and proof that when executed properly, live music can still happen in a safe and fun manner.