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Central Coast concert venues gear up to reopen for the summer

paso robles event center.jpg
Posted at 7:31 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 00:33:08-04

Over a year ago, concert venues were forced to shut their doors and turned to streaming events on the internet.

By June 15, the state is expected to relax pandemic restrictions and concert venues may open doors again.

“We’re anticipating things like masks, and vaccinations or negative tests and that sort of thing. That will all become more clear when we see that guidance from the state in June,” said Rick Boller, Santa Barbara Bowl Executive Director.

Local concert venues say they’re waiting for June 15 to have more clarity on what exactly they can do. Each concert venue plans to follow whatever state and local health guidelines are set at the time of the events.

“I don’t know today what our live performances will look like. But I know that we are going to have them. We’re going to have them safely. It really just kind of depends on where we’re at, at the time of the fair,” said California Mid-State Fair Spokesperson, Tom Keffury.

Some events, like the Live Oak Music Festival, are planning to scale down.

“Those three performances per night will be live, everything else will be either streamed or broadcasted on the radio,” said KCBX General Manager, Frank Lazone.

Others are preparing to operate at full capacity.

“We have put a handful of shows on sale with the intention of going back to business at 100% capacity,” said Boller.

Paul Leatherman, Vina Robles Ampitheatre Manager, added, “I mean these shows are going on sale as full capacity events. We’re a 3,300 seat venue and that’s what we intend to do this year if the rules and guidelines allow us to do so in a safe manner for our patrons, our staff and our entertainers.”

Some big artists, like John Legend, are planning to carry over performances they missed last year at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

But other venues say securing artists for performances right now is difficult with ever-changing regulations.

“Available acts is certainly a head scratcher right now,” said Keffury.

Overall, concert venues are excited to bring the community together through music.

“I’m looking forward to seeing people again, the smile on their faces,” added Keffury.

As for the changes that are here to stay, local concert venues say mask wearing outdoors for the foreseeable future and contactless ticketing using mobile phones.

Local concert venues added that they all applied for the Small Business Administration’s $16 billion grant, but they have yet to receive it. The grant would help play for the losses from last year.