As music fans are eager to get back to concerts, artists have turned to livestream shows and drive-in movie theater concerts. However, one protest group is planning to go against the state’s rules and hold an outdoor concert later this month.
Republican Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt – who is currently a candidate for Congress in Utah’s 1st District – is allowing the protest group to hold the concert on May 30 in a city park with a performance from country music star Collin Raye. During an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, Witt said that the concert “does violate state directives,” however, she is still open for the concert to continue as planned.
“I believe I need to support people’s First Amendment Rights,” Witt told The Tribune. “I am clearing space for them and allowing them to exercise their First Amendment rights in a safe and responsible way.”
Currently, the state is moving to shift directives in Davis County from “moderate” to “low” risks; nonetheless, there is still a ban of public gatherings of more than 50 people. The concert’s sponsor, Utah Business Revival, noted that social distancing protocols will still take place, as they are asking people to wear masks. Witt said that people at the event are “planning to socially distance themselves just like they would at Costco.”
“We have to start making steps toward normalcy,” she said. “Yes, it violates the directive of the governor. It’s a protest, and we are allowing them the space to do that. I’m willing to be uncomfortable to stand up for our First Amendment rights.”
The concert, slated to take place at Barnes Park from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on May 30, will be one of the first live concerts held in the country amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In a press release, Raye said that he is “honored to come to Kaysville for the first live concert in America,” noting that “music is an extremely powerful tool to help heal our souls, especially in times of uncertainty.”
In addition to the music, the concert will reportedly feature booths for “nonessential” businesses hoping to sell some of their products.
Over the weekend, an Arkansas venue was set to hold one of the country’s first post-lockdown shows on May 15. However, the concert was scheduled to take place three days before the state officially permitted concerts, leading to pushback from Governor Asa Hutchinson and a cease and desist order from the health department. The venue was also told that it would lose its liquor license if it did not postpone the event to comply with state orders.
Now, TempleLive has been granted approval from the Arkansas Department of Health to hold a Travis McCready concert tonight, Monday May 18. Patrons above the age of 10 will be required to wear face masks with mandatory temperature screenings at the door and performers must stay 12 feet away from fans. While the venue usually holds 1,100 people, 239 fans will be in attendance.
As the pandemic rages on across the country, concerts will slowly return – yet the atmosphere won’t be the same. The Event Safety Alliance is calling for moshpits and crowdsurfing to be banned at shows, as well the implementation as several safety protocols.