Ideas to Restart Your Concerts (#Covid)

Last Wednesday, a handful of hosts were able to join me on a Zoom call to discuss ideas and best practices for when we are ready to start hosting events again. In particular, how do we navigate audience size, promotion, proximity, food, bathrooms, schedule, etc.?

We didn’t cover everything, but here’s a recap of what we covered in 40 minutes.

How to Restart?

Start Small: LRN will recommend 50% capacity max for indoor shows. We’ll actively promote the TenTen Concerts format to encourage folks to do more shows, especially to help out local and regional acts.

Chairs: Spread them out more for obvious reasons, but also to minimize people touching each other’s chairs as they navigate to their seats.

Lodging: Book more local and regional acts who can drive home after the show.

Front Row: Singers/speakers have to project and can’t wear masks while performing, so it’s good to move the front row back further than usual.

Elderly and immunity-compromised guests should not be in the front row.

Outdoor setups provide more space, and allow people to bring their own chairs/picnic.

Merch Table: Disinfectant wipes should be available to wipe items.

Bath: Disinfectant wipes, lysol, etc. Enable people to clean whatever makes them more comfortable… toilet, doorknob, etc. One set concerts allow some guests to skip the bathroom altogether.

Food/Alcohol: Might be best to skip both – keep things simpler and cleaner. Invite guests to bring what they like, but not large portions for sharing.

Below are the suggestions I made before the conversation, which offer some additional context.

1. We’ll have to start small and/or outdoors for maximum safety. The point is to allow people plenty of space, not just between seats but extra space to walk around, especially in the congested areas. Consider limiting to HALF your previous capacity.

2. If possible start with local regional acts. With so much uncertainty, artists cannot confidently plan long trips. They will not be able to absorb cancellation costs or barely profitable touring anymore. Every gig has to make sense on its own. That means drastically reduced travel for the near term. Of course, if you have existing bookings, you should honor those if they still work for your artists.

3. We’ll have to limit the buffet and food sharing. There might be some creative answers here, but I think people will be most comfortable eating at home. Please consider how that might affect alcohol consumption… serving alcohol without food can be more risky.

4. We’ll have to be vigilant about safety and backup plans. What if you are scheduled to host a show in two days and now you have a cold/fever? Backup hosts/spaces would be very advisable. I recommend partnering with another local host for each event, especially if you do book an act that will be traveling. ONE of us will host this thing!
Also, audience members can be encouraged to wear masks. Have a “best mask contest” for each show!

5. Flexible pricing – if a number of our potential guests have lost work or income, it might be worthwhile to ask/promote a looser policy for donations. Please give less if you must, please give more if you can.

6. Smaller = more shows?
This probably sounds ambitious, but smaller shows are easier, and we’ll all be missing the opportunity to connect. Small house concerts will be one of the best ways to reconnect safely.


Author: Franman

Singer-songwriter, music entrepreneur, and founder of Listening Room Festival, ConcertsInYourHome, and Listening Room Network

One thought on “Ideas to Restart Your Concerts (#Covid)”

  1. Glad to get this info Fran. Missing live music so much! I’m curious if you talked about attendees signing some kind of “hold harmless” form so the host isn’t on the hook if someone gets sick. Would regular homeowner’s liability insurance cover that? I know I may sound paranoid but quarantine is messing with my head.

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