Performance venues team up across NC to plan for safe return of concerts, shows
Posted May 19, 2020 9:37 a.m. EDT
Updated May 20, 2020 12:45 p.m. EDT
The top performing arts venues in Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro and Charlotte are joining forces to plan for the return of concerts, comedy and other touring shows.
The “NC Live” coalition, a group of leaders from 18 venues, will provide a list of best practices to Gov. Roy Cooper to help plan for the safe return of live entertainment in Phase 3. That could happen as soon as June 19.
The group will consider whether and how to implement modifications such as cashless transactions, venue disinfection, staggered fan arrivals and temperature checks and will offer the best practices to all facilities.
Painter said they are considering possibilities like grouping families in seating, then leaving space between, seating people three rows apart or even removing some seating all together.
Painter said she presumes a lot of guests may be in masks. There's a possibility masks could be mandated--but nothing is certain yet.
“It’s a chance for North Carolina to get together and say, ‘What can we all do the same?' What can we all do to make our guests feel protected and safe?” said Kerry Painter, general manager of the Raleigh Convention and Performing Arts Complex.
Painter oversees 1,200 events at a year at four venues including Red Hat Amphitheater, Coastal Credit Music Park at Walnut Creek, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and the Raleigh Convention Center. Many dates have been canceled, but she remains optimistic that the season can be saved with the right precautions.
“I would presume a lot of people will be in masks and it may be mandated. We’re not sure,” Painter said. “We have been looking at everything from Korea to Europe [and] talking to Australia and then all across America many times in a week.”
Painter says separating the audience will be easier than dancers, musicians and other performers.
"Two ballerinas can not do a pas de deux separate. They have to touch,” she said.
Painter says any recommendations will include a decrease in capacity and added measures in the concessions with plexiglass barriers and contactless payment.
Painter says venues will likely need more concession staff to eliminate long lines, more cleaning crews and more restroom attendants.
“All of it is going to cost more money because it takes more bodies,” Painter said. "Everything is going to multiple in cost.”
The NC Live coalition is comprised of: Coastal Credit Music Park at Walnut Creek, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Koka Booth Amphitheatre, PNC Arena and Red Hat Amphitheater in Wake County; Carolina Theatre of Durham, Durham Performing Arts Center and Durham Convention Center; Blumenthal Performing Arts, Bojangles Entertainment Complex, Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, Live Nation Carolinas, PNC Music Pavilion and Spectrum Center in Charlotte; and Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts and White Oak Amphitheatre in Greensboro.