As Europe has served as an example of how to put on drive-in shows, socially distanced arena concerts and even the odd outdoor in-person concert during the coronavirus pandemic, traditional concert venues on this side of the pond are getting back into the swing of things as well.
“It’s not because each area has its own political agenda, sometimes it’s based on science,” says Tom Boyd, director of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, a regular summer concert venue in the city of Vail, Colo., about an hour and a half drive from Denver.
“Eagle County, Colorado, was one of the early hotspots but we were also early to get out of this,” Boyd says, emphasizing that the amphitheatre’s shows are in full accordance with local regulations and working closely with local health officials to be as safe as possible.
As various markets open up across the country, “How can we lead the way forward, what does it look like when we’re being respectful of COVID-19 but also aware that we cannot shut down our lives and economy completely for years and years until this passes?” Boyd says. “ What is a responsible way to open in a really cautious and careful manner? That’s what we’re doing at the Ford Amphitheatre.”
The 2,500-capacity amphitheatre regularly hosts major touring acts in the summer, with last year’s schedule featuring two Trey Anastasio performances, as well as the Steve Miller Band, Gary Clark Jr., Bon Iver, Nathaniel Rateliff and others. This year is down to 175 capacity, with shows by Lindsey Stirling and Michael Franti moved to next summer.