It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten any good news on the live music front, with large concerts being basically non-existent (unless you live in Texas) for almost a year now.
But with COVID infection rates on the decline and vaccinations getting into more peoples’ arms, we’re finally starting to see signs of life for the future of concerts. And damn it feels good.
The latest glimmer of hope comes to us from Colorado, where officials are signaling to music industry leaders that live events could be up to as much as 80% capacity by the summer.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently shared their projections with music industry leaders, including Chris Zacher, the CEO and Executive Director of Levitt Pavilion in Denver and the co-chair of the state’s chapter of the National Independent Venue Association.
Based on the state’s timeline, live music venues could be able to re-open at 50% capacity with 6-foot social distancing as soon as April 1st. By May 1, that could increase to 60% capacity. And by July, that number could be all the way up to 80% with 3-foot social distancing, or even no social distancing depending on the number of people who have been vaccinated. There was no mention of masks, but it’s probably safe to assume those will also be required at any live shows for the foreseeable future.
A spokesman for CDPHE cautioned that the projections aren’t concrete and could still change, but that they shared the projections to help venues plan for what may be coming in the near future.
Now obviously this is only one state’s projections, and if the last year has taught us anything it’s that things could change overnight. But to hear a state with venues like the 7,500-person Levitt Pavilion and Red Rocks, which seats over 9,500, talk about opening up with these kinds of capacities is some of the more encouraging news we’ve gotten over the past year.
Both Red Rocks and Levitt have applied to the state for a variance to allow for more fans in the stands, which would make it financially viable for artists to appear at the venues. And Red Rocks currently has shows on their schedule for April that, as of now, are still happening.
So is it a return to normal? No, obviously not.
But is it a big step in the right direction? Hell yes.
The thought of an 80% capacity show at Red Rocks was unimaginable just a few months ago, so the fact that it’s being discussed as a real possibility by the beginning of July shows the progress we’re making towards getting artists back on stage and fans in the seats.