The first “socially distant concert” to be staged in Arkansas later this week (May 15), does not comply with health regulations, according to the state governor.
Travis McCready, frontman of country-rock band Bishop Gunn, was set to deliver an “intimate solo acoustic performance” at Fort Smith’s Temple Live on condition that tickets can only be purchased in “fan pods” of 2-12 seats, each of which will be some six feet apart from the next group, and the venue’s capacity is reduced by a massive 80% from 1100 to 229 seats.
Face masks, were also set to be made available for purchase at the event, and are required for all attendees and employees in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Fog sprayers were also set to be used to sanitise the venue before and after the event, while bathroom restrictions would also be in place at all times and temperature checks would be made.
Now despite, strict social distancing measures, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, said the concert does not meet the Department Of Health directives.
“I appreciate the venue owners’ working to enforce social distancing and the wearing of masks to protect the concertgoers, but the concert remains outside of the state’s pandemic directive,” he wrote in a statement to the New York Times.
But Mike Brown, a representative for the venue, said that the regulations as they stand are discriminatory because churches in the US have different restrictions to indoor concerts.
Concerts limit their audiences to fewer than 50 people and maintain a six-foot distance between attendees.
Churches, however, have no limits on the number of attendees allowed as long as they maintain the minimum safe distance.
“The directive is discriminatory because the virus does not know if it’s in a body in church or high school or a music venue,” Brown said. “Not that I have anything against church, but if you can go to a church and it’s a public assembly, there is no difference. How is it OK for one group to have a public meeting and it’s not OK for a music venue to have the same opportunity?”
Healthcare experts in the US have predicted that live concerts will not return until Autumn 2021, with a poll finding that most American gig-goers would rather wait until a vaccine is found until attending shows again.
Meanwhile, a number of UK venues have spoken to NME about their concerns and requirements if socially-distanced indoor gigs were to be allowed in the coming months, with the Music Venue Trust detailing that a number of safe and financially viable solutions were being discussed.