Promoters NS2 and FPC Live have teamed up with Charleston Music Hall to produce a socially-distanced concert series in Charleston, South Carolina. The “Around the Bend” series will be held from Oct. 3 to Nov. 14 at outdoor venue The Bend.
“There happens to be a pretty robust music scene in Charleston that features a lot of artists that have a national profile such as Shovels & Ropes and SUSTO,” says FPC president Matt Gerding. “We were able to piece together a lineup based on talent that was right in our backyard, which is both a great thing in terms of supporting the local music community in Charleston but also that we can book artists that don’t have to be part of a routed tour.”
The series allows safe social distancing by providing 250 squares at 10-by-10 feet each, limiting the squares to a maximum of four people per square from the same party. A six-foot aisle between squares provides ample room for social distancing while navigating the concert site, and masks are required if patrons leave their square to visit the facilities.
Charleston Music Hall venue director Charles Carmody teamed up with FPC Live, which has already held socially distant shows at an outdoor space at Rose Park Music Hall in Columbia, Missouri. Missouri was one of the first states to allow live music events following state-by-state bans on large gatherings enacted in March.
Attendees in Charleston will have a two hour window to enter the event space prior to the show and will be let out by row at the end of the evening. Hand sanitizer will be readily available and concessions will not be offered to help mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Fans can bring their own food and beverage to be enjoyed in their pods and are allowed to bring or rent chairs and other furniture. An option to rent furniture will be emailed to ticket buyers, made possible by OOH Events.
“We certainly learned a lot by operating our outdoor space in Columbia, Missouri, and kind of fine tuning our operational plans and being able to see how patrons have responded to those guidelines that we’ve created,” Gerding tells Billboard. “It’s allowed us to have Columbia function a little bit like a test market for us for other opportunities.”
Based on South Carolina guidelines, Charleston Music Hall is allowed to operate with up to 250 people, but organizers feel the outdoor space alongside the Ashley River is the most comfortable choice for fans and artists at the moment. NS2 took over operations for the Charleston Music Hall earlier this year, and the Nashville-based arm of FPC Live hopes to welcome fans back to the venue later this year or in early 2021.
In the meantime, the series at The Bend is scheduled through November, with Gerding suggesting it could return in spring or summer of 2021. Tickets for the series go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. EST. Check out the full schedule below.