Central Okanagan performances this fall will be smaller, more expensive | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Central Okanagan performances this fall will be smaller, more expensive

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Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Creekside Theatre
August 16, 2020 - 11:00 AM

Faced with COVID-19 restrictions, musicians and performance organizers are moving towards holding smaller indoor performances this fall.

Small, outdoor concerts have been successful this summer, said Lake Country cultural development coordinator Ryan Donn. Donn is also a City of Kelowna councillor.

Lake Country has held sidewalk concerts throughout the summer and many residents have requested more of them.

READ MORE: One Okanagan town has figured out a way to keep live music playing 

“We’ve done 36 of them now and they’ve worked very well,” Donn said, adding that people are craving in-person events that follow Public Health social distancing guidelines.

Festivals Kelowna is also hosting roaming shows in different neighbourhoods a few days a week on board a flatbed truck, he said. Now that musicians have grasped what COVID-19 restrictions mean, Donn said the shift is to the fall season with indoor events.

At Lake Country's Creekside Theatre, there will be a limit to 50 patrons, as per provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order, and tickets will be more expensive to support the musicians, Donn said. The theatre has 10 shows planned for the fall.

“A lot of bands are still wanting to tour, and locals (want to perform) so it’s going to be a mix of B.C. acts or locals,” he said.

The challenge has been nailing down provincial health orders to be able to plan for performances.

Some theatres invested in plexiglass to separate the audience from the performers as that was originally going to be a requirement, Donn said, but now that’s no longer the case.

“We’ve been following a bit of a bouncing ball as to what will be required,” he said. “We’re almost settling down to what will be allowed for the fall.”

Donn expects there will be fewer intermissions, and that tickets may be more expensive and harder to come by with the COVID-19 limitations on audience numbers.

Donn also noted that even without COVID-19 restrictions, there will still be a massive need to rebuild market demand for shows.

If COVID-19 restrictions ease, customers may still not feel comfortable attending large shows.

“We are going to have a very different playing field,” he said. “There is going to be a very different type of demand out there.”

READ MORE: U.S. professor writes book on COVID-19 impact to tourism while on lock down at Sun Peaks

He thinks demand will vary depending on the social circle. It may be a while for customers to feel comfortable being in large groups.

Entertainers have also been suffering, Donn said, adding an example of one comedian, earning roughly $200,000 for 200 shows may be only performing at 30-40 shows this year.

“Travel has been the bread-and-butter of the industry, and travel is restricted so I think a lot of people are struggling big time.

“There’s much less shows, much less money per show… this also affects their careers and not getting those opening spots at big shows… (the Canada Emergency Response Benefit) has been a life-saver for some artists,” he said.


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