Special thanks to Anthony “Zee” Donaldson of The Disruption Network for sharing.
Many of us who have loved live music for most of our lives have never really taken the specialness, or the togetherness, that occurs at shows for granted. Well, maybe sometimes, sure. After all, we’re human. But most of the time we knew the greatness of the killer sets, of the spontaneous moments that electrified us, of the anxious travels to new destinations, and of the intoxicating celebrations with the friends that we were with when they occurred. Those things weren’t lost on us. From the instant those experiences took place, they became loving memories we would always think back on. What most of us probably did take for granted, however, was the very fact that we got to go do all of those things in the first place. For an entire year now, we’ve had nothing but time to reflect on our live music memories. No opportunities, really, to go make more. No real plans to even consider when we could. No tickets, no packing, no dancing, no encores. Nothing.
This ugly thing none of us ever saw coming – the altogether disappearance of live shows – is something that we never want to see happen again. Together, we can try and make sure that it never does. With the rollout of New York State’s Excelsior Pass pilot program, we may be on our way to seeing our favorite acts play with our own two eyes at venues across the state relatively soon. The Excelsior Pass is an app with a secure QR code that gets scanned upon entry, signaling that particular staff member’s or attendee’s negative coronavirus test result or vaccination status. The user’s personal health data will remain confidential. The app has just been tested at the Barclays Center in February at a Brooklyn Nets game, then again at Madison Square Garden before a Rangers game. The state is currently reviewing the results of the pilot program and will make necessary changes and improvements before transferring it to Apple and Google for users to download.
Beginning April 2, New York state is allowing 10,000+ seat venues to reopen at 10% capacity, while smaller venues will be able to reopen at 33% capacity – but no more than 100 people within smaller indoor venues, and no more than 200 people at smaller outdoor venues. Venues like the Stanley Theatre in Utica are keeping a close eye on the results of the Excelsior Pilot program and the initial use of it publicly. Only being allowed to seat 100 people in April wouldn’t be economically feasible for bands to play at venues like the Stanley. But if all goes well when the public enters events across the state using the app, and the number of new coronavirus cases continues to decrease across the population, the state will likely lift the venue capacity restrictions. It would then be more reasonable – and financially practical – to book shows.
Larger outdoor venues like SPAC, which can hold approximately 3,500 people under the current guidelines, may still start booking smaller acts and begin their concert season as soon as possible. As they say, time will tell. But if we can all do our part, which means getting vaccinated when we can and sticking to health protocols we’ve been following for a while now, we just may pull this off in time to get some larger concert-going experiences by the later stages of summer.
Spring has historically been an anxious time anyway for us outdoor show-lovin’ souls. We itch, we pace, we pant and salivate. We go through our withdrawal symptoms the hardest, it seems, as the snows begin to melt and the sun feels warmer on our skin. We know dancing on the grass in our bare feet is just around the corner but we have to wait. Wait. Wait. Then boom! We gear up and head out for our run at summer shows and festivals and never slow down until we’re forced back inside. But THIS spring…this spring may be the most unique one yet that we’ve ever lived. We’ve never had to wait, wait, wait for shows like this before. It’s been torturous. But we’re getting there.
So much has changed in the world since the pandemic initially shut everything down. We all know that. And hopefully, we all know by now that having the opportunity to go to live shows is something we will never take for granted again. So pay attention here at 315 Music. We’ll keep you updated on the status of live shows around Central New York and New York State. And be safe. So when the time comes, you’ll be ready to grab your favorite show clothes, grab your cooler, grab your mask, grab your phone with the Excelsior Pass app, grab your sandals, grab your love, and when they’re available, grab your tickets. Grab this opportunity and don’t ever let it go. Do it coolly and do it smartly, and we’ll go dancing under the lights and stars, making memories yet again. See you out there soon my live-music-loving friends.