Major Concerts in the Tampa Bay area: Coming back soon?

Given sensible restrictions designed to slow the highly infectious COVID-19 virus, which continues to drive infections, hospitalizations and deaths in many parts of the US and world, many concert venues face tricky decision making.

Do they throw caution to the wind, go forward with shows, have “checkerboard seating,” make only 25% to 50% of their venues available to concertgoers, charge more for each ticket, perhaps give lower guarantees to artists, and hope that folks show up and it all works out?


Or do they take a wait-and-see approach and hold off from bringing in touring acts until they can operate at regular capacity, under normal conditions?

Looks like the latter — postponing shows until later — is mostly happening at major Tampa Bay area venues, as Jay Cridlin writes in this round-up for the Tampa Bay Times.

“The state this week decreed that many Florida businesses could reopen with limitations, including retail shops and restaurants. Bars, clubs and performance venues weren’t included” Cridlin writes. “Even if they had been, the entertainment world can’t just restart by fiat. Artists must want to perform, venues must safely host them, and fans must want to buy tickets.”

Cridlin takes the pulse of the scene via interviews with Straz chief Judy Lisi, concert promoter Tony Rifugiato, and Tom White of Skipper’s Smokehouse (pic, above).

“Few venues want to say it out loud, but even if the rest of America reopens, the live entertainment industry could be facing a mostly lost summer.”

Many summer and fall music festivals around the country have announced cancellations. Is the Clearwater Jazz Holiday still happening this October? I’ve not heard.

On a personal note, we have tickets to see the Hall & Oates/Squeeze show this August at the whatever-it’s-called-now Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa (bought ’em mainly to see Squeeze, but I like the headliner, too). Have no idea if that is still happening.

In short, you can probably forget about seeing shows by touring artists this summer, or maybe even in the fall, and those big concerts may not return until early next year.


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