Arkansas’s governor is allowing America’s first post-quarantine concert to move forward after the promoter agreed to adhere to the state’s reopening guidelines.
As previously reported, Bishop Gunn singer/guitarist Travis McCready was set to play a limited-capacity concert at TempleLive in Forth Smith, Arkansas on Friday, May 22nd, marking the first such live event to take place in the country since COVID-19 effectively shuttered the live music industry. However, after learning of the venue’s specific social distancing plans, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) hit the venue with a cease-and-desist order.
Hutchinson’s main point of contention was over the timing of the event, as it was to take place three days prior to the date (May 18th) in which the governor previously said that venues could reopen. Additionally, under the governor’s directives, group gatherings must be under 50 people (TempleLive had planned to limit capacity to 229).
Now, though, the concert’s promoter, Mike Brown, has received permission to proceed with the concert after agreeing to move the date to the 18th, as Rolling Stone reports.
“The fact that the concert promoter moved the date three days forward to May 18th showed that it is not that hard to abide by the same rules that apply to everyone else,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “They wanted an exception for an indoor concert no one else in Arkansas asked for or was allowed. We are grateful they determined that they should follow the directives and the law and do the right thing for not only the concertgoers, but also for the public in general.”
“I’m delighted that on Monday, assuming their health plan can be approved by the Department of Health and proper security measures are taken, the concert can proceed and we can welcome them to the venue,” Hutchinson added. “We are pleased to have a resolution and that the concert promoter recognized the need to follow the directives of the Department of Health.”
Even though he’s received the governor’s blessing, Brown isn’t happy about the situation. During a press conference on Thursday, Brown remarked (via Times Record), “Doesn’t feel like America to me. It’s disheartening. So due to the actions by the State of Arkansas, by the Arkansas Health Department and the governor’s office, we are applying to move this show to May 18th to be in compliance with the directive from the Arkansas Department of Health and governor’s office. Against our will.”
Co-promoter, Lancy Beatty, echoed those sentiments and said the state’s reopening guidelines “have no basis in science.”