For Central Coast residents, a new vaccine incentive is on the table.
Three locations in San Luis Obispo County are offering pop-up vaccine clinics with a bonus: a free concert ticket.
Operators of the Fremont Theater, on Monterey St. in downtown San Luis Obispo, teamed up with San Luis Obispo County Public Health. The result was "Shots for Shows,"
The program kicked off on Thursday evening at the Fremont Theater. Two more programs, in Oceano and Atascadero, are open through Friday evening.
Live production venues, like theaters and concert halls, were hit especially hard by the pandemic. When stay-at-home orders went into effect, the venues were shut down. Theaters went dark and live shows disappeared.
Bruce Howard, a Partner at Fremont Theater Entertainment Group and President of Otter Productions Incorporated, helped bring the program together.
"It occurred to me that since we got hit the hardest, and the only way out of this is vaccinations," he said, "I put those things together."
For Howard, the connection between venues and public health seemed natural.
"I think this is something that can catch on--I know it's going to sound weird--nationwide," Howard said. "It seems to me that every promoter has been hurting for a year and a half, and every health department is trying to get people immunized. This is a relationship that can happen anywhere."
Two pop up events are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 17. From 2:30 to 6 p.m., Pavilion at the Lake in Atascadero is offering vaccines for free tickets. At the Oceano Community Center, the event runs from 3 to 7 p.m.
Available tickets are first-come, first-served. Participants can choose from musicians performing on the Central Coast, including Chicano Batman, Dawes, Postmodern Jukebox and Pennywise. The majority of tickets are for shows at the Fremont Theater, though some will be at the Avila Beach Resort.
When summing up Thursday's event, Howard said he was pleased.
"In my mind, it was a great success," he said. "I don't know the exact number. We had a stream of people coming in."
Beyond the numbers alone, Howard emphasized his other purpose: spreading awareness.
"It's not just live entertainment," he said. "All we're trying to do is help people get vaccinated."