This Is What America’s First Socially Distanced Concert Looked Like

Earlier this month, it was announced that — amongst various parts of the country eagerly and almost certainly prematurely reopening — the first indoor concert since the pandemic shut everything down would take place in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Travis McCready, frontman of Bishop Gunn, was set to play an acoustic show under social distancing guidelines: the TempleLive theater’s capacity reduced from 1,000 down to a little over 200, seating separated into “fan pods,” mandatory masks for all employees and attendees, sanitizing across the venue, etc.

Of course, we all miss going to shows, and of course, the McCready show raised some eyebrows. It also ran into some speed bumps. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson stated that the show was happening too soon and didn’t meet Department Of Health standards, and his office signaled it would issue a cease and desist order to stop the concert entirely. Ultimately, McCready’s gig was postponed by a couple days and made adjustments to receive state approval. Now, tonight, it is on.

So: What does attending a concert look like during the coronavirus pandemic? Fans need to get their temperature taken at the entrance, while employees sanitize and wipe down railings and surfaces. Lists of rules are placed under cleaning bottles. Urinals and seats are roped off with caution tape to keep people separated enough, while symbols on the floor remind people to stay six feet apart. The venue has its own branded masks available. Below, you can see clips of McCready’s and opener Lauren Brown’s sets, as well as photos from the evening. And then you can decide for yourself: If this is what all live gigs will look like for the foreseeable future, just how excited are you to get back to seeing some music?

CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty
CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images
CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images