A Socially Distant Arkansas Concert May Offer A Glimpse Into The Future Of Live Music

With the future of live music unclear, many are brainstorming creative ways to put on concerts while protecting the safety of fans, performers, and staff. One LA design company cooked up a futuristic bodysuit that would protect concertgoers against the virus, while a Florida DJ decided to host a drive-in music festival. But an Arkansas venue decided to take a different approach while hosting a Travis McCready concert this week, offering a possible blueprint for the future of many live shows.

TempleLive, a concert venue in Fort Smith, Arkansas, planned extensive measures in order to maintain proper social distancing practices during a concert Monday with Travis McCready, guitarist and vocalist of Bishop Gunn. According to TempleLive’s plan, the venue sought sanitation from a third party company, masks were required of all staff and patrons, and temperatures of attendees were taken upon entry. The venue restricted bathrooms to 10 people at a time and concession stands could only sell pre-packaged goods.

The performance was originally scheduled for May 15, but Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson postponed the event due to safety concerns from the state’s Department Of Health. The show was previously slated to host 229 people, which directly went against the state’s directives to cap audiences at 50.

While large venues like TempleLive are able to re-instate live shows sooner than anticipated, the pandemic still leaves smaller independent venues across the country at risk of closure. Many beloved independent venues aren’t able to maintain the same social distancing practices due to their size and number of staff members. Organizations like the National Independent Venue Association are doing what they can to support locally-owned venues by raising funds and tapping music lovers everywhere to pressure their legislators to provide relief.