Austin music venues, musicians cautiously returning to live events
The pressure to hit the right note with artists, staff and customers makes many event owners in Austin proceed with caution.
Austin, Texas – – A year after Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced that SXSW was canceled due to the threat of COVID-19, many music venues in Austin are preparing to reopen instead of preparing to close.
Ever since Governor Greg Abbott announced that all businesses, including music venues, bars and clubs, could reopen on March 10, entrepreneurs have been thinking about their next steps.
“We got calls left and right at Tammy Miranda Music Productions,” said Bruce Island Mind, musician and booking agent at Tammy Miranda Music Productions.
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“People are looking forward to this coming back,” said Dave Machinist, co-owner of Empire Control Room and Garage.
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Booking agents work around the clock to bring artists back to stages of all sizes. “I think nothing good has come with the absence of music, and I think with music coming back, only good things will come for the musicians and people who see us,” said Island Mind.
However, the pressure to hit the right note with artists, staff, and customers makes many venue owners proceed with caution.
“The venues have gone way beyond that with these new protocols and things, and I don’t think it will get back to normal. I think the collective conscience of basically everyone in the scene is that we’ll still be smart about it” said Island Mind.
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Some are excited to get back to normal, while others say it’s just too early to throw away all of these precautions.
“The idea of immediately lifting these restrictions without doing it is not a great way to reintroduce concerts and personal events into Austin nightlife,” said Machinist.
There is space for outdoor shows in the Empire Control Room and garage. They’ve been hosting her there since October with temperature checks, mask requirements, and socially distant tables. They have no plans to change their melody just yet.
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“It could be a little less crowded, a little more comfortable, a better view, the same great sound, and the same live lights and productions,” said Machinist.
Venues like ACL Live at the Moody Theater and Antone’s Nightclub also plan to keep occupancy low and prevent social distancing and masking.
Despite all the precautionary measures, some artists are not yet ready to return to the stage. “Certain musicians are still not comfortable and that’s fair. Not everyone will be comfortable with it,” Island Mind said.
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The relaxation of the masking rules comes as Travis County continues to try to get shots in the arms as soon as possible.
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As soon as everyone is feeling good, the music venues in the live music capital of the world don’t miss a beat. “If science says it is right, we will take further steps to relax some of our rules, but also keep in mind the goal of eradicating COVID-19 and not letting our beautiful neighborhoods die. Keep the music in Austin Alive, Texas, “Machinist said.
With SXSW canceling in-person festivals for the second year running, local musicians say they have more opportunities to play in Austin this spring.
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