SALT LAKE CITY — As COVID-19 daily case counts continue to trend downwards in Utah, many are wondering about the future of live events and entertainment returning to a level of "normalcy."
“I think the most exciting thing for us right now is we can be on the forefront of helping to bring concerts back,” said Brady Parks, the lead singer of The National Parks, a Utah-based band who is scheduled to play a concert at Vivint Arena on March 20. “It’s pretty surreal. I grew up coming to shows here and always being around downtown Salt Lake and coming to Jazz games, and having our name be on the marquee outside Vivint Arena is, like, a pretty surreal feeling.”
Live music coming back from #COVID19?
For @TheNatlParks it is!
— 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐞𝐞 (@brian_schnee) February 24, 2021
The Utah Jazz have been playing in front of limited capacity in the arena so far this season, and Parks expects the same for concertgoers.
“It’s kind of going to be similar to Jazz games. There’s going to be able 3,600 tickets, so there’s limited tickets, socially distanced, people will be spread out,” Parks said.
According to Vivint Arena’s website for COVID-19 precautions, a mask requirement remains in place, guests will be seated in "pods" of 2-4 people while spaced six feet apart, and tickets are digital.
“We’re super grateful for Vivint Arena for having us in this environment because it allows for us to play to fans again in a way that people feel comfortable with," Parks said.
The National Parks concert is the only live music event scheduled at Vivint Arena for the next three months. Seven concerts remain on the 2021 schedule with more being added for 2022, including The Weeknd.
Meanwhile, other concert venues in the Salt Lake area are encouraged with the vaccine rollout and cases starting to drop, but it’s too early for many to decide on firm reopening dates and plans.
“I think a realistic opening is late fall, winter," said Darin Piccoli, co-owner of State Room Presents. "I feel like the first quarter of 2022 there’s going to be a lot of activity, but I think we’ll be able to dip our toes in the water before then."
State Room Presents includes The State Room and The Commonwealth Room, as well as helping to plan events for series such as Live at the Eccles, O.P. Rockwell, and the Deer Valley Concert Series.
Piccoli is hopeful that outdoor venues will be able to produce live events, but he is projecting that most smaller indoor venues won’t have shows until later in 2021 or early next year. He also would like to see more Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) funding put into the Utah Live Events grant that saw extremely high registration with more than 600 applicants and roughly 20 receiving funding.
“It’s a busy time of the year where we’re missing out on massive revenue and keeping people employed,” Piccoli said about February leading into March. The State Room has booked upwards of 180 artists per year and hasn’t had its doors open since March 2020.
Other venues in the area, specifically those that feature outdoor shows, are starting to plan for the upcoming summer and piecing together what things will look like.
“Red Butte Garden is looking forward to resuming our popular outdoor concert series as soon as it is safe to do so,” the Garden told FOX 13 in a statement. “We are in contact with state and university officials to ensure that we are informed of safety protocols and we are working closely with industry managers and agents to monitor which artists are planning to perform this summer and fall.”
LiveNation, which oversees events at USANA Amphitheatre, hasn’t provided an update on the West Valley City venue that hosts outdoor shows. Right now, USANA has no "new" shows booked for 2021, but only some shows that were rescheduled from summer 2020.