By IQ on 19 May 2020

As Live Nation rolls out socially distanced concerts in New Zealand and new drive-in venues launch in Australia, live in the time of Covid is getting closer to its roots

Covid-safe shows take off in major live markets

The Tuning Fork in Auckland is hosting Live Nation’s socially distanced ‘Together Again’ shows

image © The Tuning Fork/Facebook

Socially distanced shows, both in venues and in parking lots, are slowly becoming a new reality for music fans the world over, as the live industry finds a myriad of creative and innovative ways to keep the live experience alive despite the Covid-19 crisis.

From virtual shows and in-game concerts, to fan-less performances and “to-go” concert services, new kinds of shows that allow fans to adhere to social distancing measures while putting a spin on the traditional live experience are becoming more and more common.

More recent examples of drive-in gigs and socially distanced shows in real-life venues are allowing the live experience to be recreated in ever-more realistic ways.

The first-ever socially distanced concert took place at a venue in Arkansas, USA, last night (18 May), as venues in some US states are allowed to open their doors once more. Initially due to take place on Saturday, the owners of venue Temple Live ran into licensing difficulting with state governor Asa Hutchinson, who had decreed that venues were only permitted to reopen from Monday, and with a capacity of 50 people.

The show did go on, however, with 229 people – a fifth of Temple Live’s full capacity – watching Bishop Gunn’s Travis McCready perform live, while sitting 1.6 metres apart from those not in their households in pre-appointed ‘fan pods’, or clusters of seating for two to 12 people.

The venue almost sold out, with tickets priced at $20. However, at 20% of its full capacity limit, the show made a loss. Lance Beaty, president of the company that owns Temple Live told the New York Times that, while “clearly not a financial decision”, the show offered “hope to a lot of people” and acted as “an experiment” for a burgeoning socially distanced show model.

As countries including Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain give the go-ahead for live shows to return – subject to stringent restrictions – in the next few weeks, live music behemoth Live Nation is already preparing to launch its first series of socially distanced shows in New Zealand, a country which is widely regarded as having kept the Covid-19 crisis at bay.

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