What the future of live performances in Spokane could look like

SPOKANE, Wash. — Would you go to a live concert if it meant you had to wear a mask? What if they took your temperature before you went in? All things are possible, as the Spokane Arena tries to navigate events in the age of COVID-19.

A standard concert at Spokane Arena in the future may not be what you envisioned. It’s hard to imagine singing along to your favorite band through a face mask.

Can you envision sitting six feet away from other fans? It’s all possible. Knowing all this, would you still be willing to pay money to come to a show?

The days of people packed in tightly to see their favorite performer live may be behind us — for now, at least.

“Everyone keeps talking about ‘the new norm.’ that’s what I’m really looking at. Will the new norm actually be a responsible thing to open our doors to,” said Matt Meyer, director of entertainment, Spokane Public Facilities District.

Spokane Public Facilities District operates the Spokane Arena, the convention center and the First Interstate Center for the Arts. Now, it has to define what that new norm is and looks like.

Does that mean mandatory face masks, or filling staggered seats? It’s all up in the air.

“Who and how many people would potentially and might actually come back to the venues at a reduced capacity or with different policies and procedures set in place,” Meyer said.

It goes beyond just the fan experience.

“If it’s going to be at a reduced capacity, that means that everyone’s taking pay cuts, when yet people still have to make money,” Meyer said.

It’s been about two months now since we saw the parking lot at Spokane Arena full. Essentially, that’s lost revenue you’re staring at.

“Through April, May, June, it’s been parked. Everything has been parked. All the tours have been parked, all the artists have been parked,” said Justin Kobluk, president of West Coast Entertainment.

Spokane Arena Schedule

Every game, concert, and graduation has either cancelled or postponed until Phase 4, which means mid-summer, at best.

Spokane Arena Schedule 2020

When that time comes, they want to be ready to bring back performers. But they want to be sure they’ll still have an audience.

They’ve created a survey that takes all of this into account. They want to hear what you would be comfortable with. What would you go through, what would you tolerate? What would you pay for and, would you feel safe?

“Working hard to bring things back to Spokane. We know they’re going to go back eventually. We’re just making sure we do it in the right way, and making sure the timing is correct,” Kobluk said.

Because it’s smaller, the First Interstate Center has a better chance of re-opening before Spokane Arena. Anyone is welcome to take that survey. More than 4,000 people have already given their input. You can find the survey HERE.

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