The first socially distanced concert in Arkansas was held today after the governor revoked the liquor license of TempleLive, the venue in Fort Smith where the event was originally scheduled for. Travis McCready of the country rock outfit Bishop Gunn was set to take the stage on May 15th; however it was pushed back after the announcement that their license was revoked.
Images from the show display a largely absent auditorium, with the audience members scattered across the venue. The crowd were still energetic for the performance however, despite its small turnout.
Covering the socially distanced Travis McCready show at @templelivefsm.
— Max Bryan (@MBryanTimesRec) May 19, 2020
The state’s governor Asa Hutchinson sent the venue a cease-and-desist order last Friday, after releasing a statement which declared the event non-compliant with the state’s stay-at-home order. This stay-at-home order allowed various venues such as theaters, stadiums and arenas to reopen as long as they limited their audiences to fewer than 50 people, while the concert was set to host an audience of 229 people for a venue consisting of 1,100 people.
The venue enacted various precautions such as “fan pods” of two to 12 seats , to avoid mingling between separate groups, while other measures such as mandatory face masks and a 10-person limit on each bathroom (with hands free soap and paper towel dispensers), were also required. The venue was also set to take temperatures at the door for the event, while hallways, entrances and exits were all one way only.
Mike Brown, an organizer for TempleLive, has spoken out against the calls to shutdown the event, calling it discriminatory as churches have been allowed to reopen in the state. “‘We the people,’ three amazing words, and they have been trampled on today,” Brown stated.
Missouri allowed concerts to take place as soon as the state opened earlier this month. According to Digital Music News, an eight-acre field at the Tall Pines Distillery in Pineville, Missouri took place last Friday with an audience of 400 people.