Arkansas’ first “socially distant concert” to be issued cease-and-desist notice

Bishop Gunn frontman Travis McCready is on the bill

An upcoming Arkansas gig – the American state’s first prospective “socially distant concert” – will soon face a cease-and-desist notice.

Last week, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson said the concert by Bishop Gunn frontman Travis McCready – despite social distancing measures announced by its venue, TempleLive – was not compliant with health regulations.

Now Pitchfork reports that the concert will be issued a cease-and-desist notice by the state’s Department of Health.


The venue TempleLive is scheduled to host the concert on May 15. The event is marketed as a “socially distant” solo performance from McCready in which groups of punters would sit in “fan pods” that are six feet apart from each other. Only 20 per cent of the 1,100-person capacity would be filled, venue management said.

See the venue’s announcement of the concert, posted April 24:

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UPDATE: Tickets will go on-sale Monday, April 27th at 10am. 🚨JUST ANNOUNCED🚨 An Intimate Solo Acoustic Performance With Travis McCready of Bishop Gunn May 15th. Please see our COVID19 Operating Protocol that we will be following to ensure a safe experience at our venue. “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”. ― Plato. The beginning of music is believed to originate with the beginning of creation itself. The first instrument can be traced back to 43,000 years ago, the first song to 4000 years ago. Even Plato, one of the greatest minds in history speaks to the importance of music. What do we learn from these simple facts? Hopefully we learn that people are designed to seek solace in this form of art. Pioneers such as Handel, Mozart, and Bach paved the early paths in the world of music. Beethoven found such value in music that he continued to compose after the loss of his hearing. We continue to seek music, perhaps even more fervently in the darkest times. For the lover of arts, music becomes the spark in life. Can you think of a movie without a soundtrack? With advances in technology, music has become so accessible that its become an important part in the lives of the vast majority of the population. Music is not only a luxury, but a necessity to many. Developments in the medical field such as music therapy show significant ties between music and the mental health of the population. Music is beyond enjoyment, it is what drives many of us and binds us to each other. The comradery created by live music specifically is unlike any other experience. That feeling you get when a band takes the stage, you feel the beat in your chest, and the bass shakes your entire being. The next thing we do however, may be the most spectacular part of the live experience. Once we’ve enjoyed the sight of the band taking the stage, we look to those around us, even just to share a glance, a smile. For a few brief moments, we are all united by love of an artist. These are the moments that bring us to life. And we won’t have that life taken from us. Music is all around us, music is essential

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In a press conference held on Monday, May 11, Hutchinson said the event did not fall in line with the current directive put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, and event organisers will be directed to stop.

The concert will take place three days before Arkansas permits theatres, arenas and stadiums to reopen, provided they only host events for audiences fewer than 50 people.

“That concert does not have our approval. It would happen three days before the authorised date, as well as a few other problems,” Hutchinson said.


Speaking to 40/29 News, a representative from the venue, Mike Brown, said he was weighing options for the concert. The venue submitted its plan on how it intends to keep audience members safe during the performance, but the governor has labelled it as “insufficient”.

“It’s really disappointing. I was a little bit blindsided, and to hear that at the press conference was a little disconcerting,” Brown said.

“We’ve pulled it back at 20 percent capacity and it’s still not good enough.”

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