Limiting capacity and temperature checks? RVA music venues unsure what concerts will look like after COVID-19

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As Virginia looks to reopen businesses, Richmond’s music scene is also working to figure out what’s next.

Concert venues in the region range in capacity from a few dozen people to thousands all able to enjoy the same artist at the same time.

Just last year, crowds of music lovers danced and sang their way through the Something in the Water Festival in Virginia Beach.

It’s a scene that now seems like it comes from another lifetime.

“Thinking about those times when you’re at a sold out concert venue full of people is kind of bizarre,” said Lucas Fritz, owner and talent buyer at The Broadberry Entertainment Group.

Despite the challenges for the health care and business communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fritz says he’s confident that live entertainment will return eventually.

“Anyone can pull up any video, any audio on a phone they carry in their pockets, but you can’t replace that with being in a room full of people sweating and screaming and singing along to your favorite songs, to your favorite bands,” Fritz told 8News of the shared experience at a live concert.

As venues like The Broadberry plan for the fall, winter, and 2021 seasons, management is also unsure what concerts will look like in the name of public health.

Fritz also schedules live performances at venues like The Camel, Richmond Music Hall, and The National. He says he and his colleagues are following the guidance of scientists and doctors who can advise the healthiest and safest way for these large gatherings to resume.

“Is it gonna be taking temperatures at the door, is it gonna be everybody has to wear a mask, is it gonna be everybody has to wear gloves?” Fritz explained. “Its really unclear what that will look like.”

According to Fritz, there’s also talk of limiting the size of crowds at concerts.

With that conversation, however, comes a concern whether venues could survive financially at just 50 or 75 percent ticket capacity.

“We don’t know when we’re gonna have shows again and its really difficult rescheduling shows with a big question mark on the calendar,” said Fritz.

One positive takeaway, according to Fritz, of stay-at-home orders around the country is that artists have uninterrupted time to create new music.

Fritz says he’s looking forward to seeing what musicians have been working on.

“There’s probably gonna be a lot of awesome art and music created in this time with all these artists and musicians that don’t normally have such an extended period of time to work on their craft,” he said. “We’re gonna see some really cool stuff next year I think.”

Fritz also told 8News he and the other concert venues in Richmond are holding weekly meetings during the pandemic.

Instead of acting as competition, he says they’re working together to bring live music back to the River City — safely.

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