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Elbow room, temperature checks, and masks: What the country’s first post-outbreak concert was like

Elbow room, temperature checks, and masks: What the country's first post-outbreak concert was like

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images(ARKANSAS) — Someday, hopefully soon, the COVID-19 crisis will be a distant memory, and a trivia question might arise: “Which act played the first live concert during the outbreak?” 

The answer is Travis McCready. 

He played the country’s first live concert in a venue in two months on Monday night, a show that might be a sign of things to come for music fans going forward.

The New York Times attended the show at Temple Live in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a 1,100-seat venue that was home to just 229 socially distanced fans Monday night.

As Arkansas began relaxing some of its lockdowns, the paper reported that organizers of the nearly sold-out show had to secure an exception from the state to stage the show, at which fans saw new safety features.

According to the Times, the $20 tickets were sold in “fan pods” of up to six; every patron was screened for fever, and instructed to wear masks. The show’s 30-person staff was on hand to advise fans to say six feet apart, direct patrons through one-way traffic in hallways, and limit the number of people who needed to use the bathroom at a time. 

Considering the limited crowd, the first-of-its-kind show didn’t exactly rake it in, but its organizers say that wasn’t the point: “It’s clearly not a financial decision that we did this,” noted Lance Beaty, president of Temple Live’s parent company.

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