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As we salvage summer in this post-quarantine yet still socially distant world we’re living in, we’ve enlisted the help of some incredible Austin movers and shakers to bring you the best of what’s happening this summer in the ATX. Every Monday, we’re presenting Music Mondays with Clarissa Cardenas, aka “ATX Concert Queen.” This week, she’s taking you inside her post quarantine concert experience.
Dancing in a club and staying socially distant aren’t exactly phrases you’d see together in the same sentence, however, these are the times we’re living in and what once seemed like a bizarre sci-fi movie plot is now our reality. While no one truly knows when live music venues will be operating like PC (pre-Covid), many will begin to adjust to the circumstances and concert-goers will cautiously begin to venture back into the live music scene.
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This past Saturday, I attended my first show out of quarantine at Vulcan Gas Company, a nightlife/ music venue off of East 6th Street, which I’ve frequented many times before for various types of electronic music and Stubb’s after-shows. This particular night, Sara Landry, local producer and techno DJ, was knocking the three-month-old dust from the Vulcan speakers with her dark, industrial sound. Sara’s music isn’t for the faint of heart but it matched the energy in the room of people waiting to release all their pent up, worldly frustrations on the dance floor.
Here’s the breakdown of how a live music venue can set the bar for concert safety protocol in the upcoming months.
- Operating at a 50% capacity
Adhering to Texas phase three reopening guidelines, the Vulcan security and doorman closely monitored and counted everyone coming in and out, ensuring that they would not surpass the 300 person max (normally 658 standing person) capacity. Vulcan also boasts two floors with an outside terrace, which allowed for 300 people to spread out comfortably.
- Masks required upon entry
With guests also wearing them on the dance floor and moving about the venue, this was something that I was pleasantly surprised to see 95% of guests comply with. Thanks to Vulcan’s high quality audio system, talking to each other while wearing masks wasn’t an impossible feat while on the dance floor.
- Temperature check upon entry
This occurred with an infrared thermometer on every single guest. In conjunction with the other safety precautions, this gave me the most peace of mind as an attendee, knowing that anyone running a fever would be turned away at the door.
- Steel safety barricades surrounding the DJ booth
This was done to protect the artist from unnecessary behavior that didn’t support the “distanced” experience. As artists begin to leave their quarantine studios, they will be looking for heightened protective measures, and this six foot steel barricade provided an additional safeguard for the artists. There was also a password protected green room and sanitized mixers and CDJ’s before and after each set.
Before Saturday, both Vulcan and Sara Landry, left no room for interpretation regarding safety precautions for guests in attendance as it’s not only stressful but difficult to control 300 people’s actions on any given night.
Verdict: As something I experienced for myself, I would definitely attend another socially distanced concert if it paralleled my last experience. I can only hope that other music venues take note, concert goers are responsible and respectful of others, and live music can resume in Austin sooner than later.