After being closed for the past six months over COVID-19, the Boulder Theater is set to open again in October with nine socially distant concerts from artists including Magic Beans, Random Rab and Tenth Mountain Division.
David Weingarden, Z2 Entertainment’s vice president of concerts and events, says Boulder County recently signed off on the theater’s reopening guidelines.
“We felt that it was going to be safe for patrons to come into the room again,” he says. “We thought October would be a good time to start things back up to a reduced capacity.”
While the Boulder Theater’s capacity is normally 999, these upcoming concerts will have a maximum of 100 people sitting at tables for four or eight people. Each ticket for the 21-plus shows includes two McDevitt Supply tacos, two drinks, and chips and salsa. A cash bar will also be available.
Since there aren’t many bands traveling now, Weingarden says the theater will be hosting local acts.
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“It’s really great to be in the Denver/Boulder area, because we have so many musicians that live here — like nationally touring, world-class musicians that live in this area," he says. "And so we're able to make sure that we're working with those guys as well as more local bands, too. Right now, everybody wants to work — not only the artists, but our staff. We want to make sure that everybody's working and having a good time. It's been a long time coming.”
Weingarden says that Z2 has been in touch with Boulder County on reopening the Fox Theatre, which the company also operates, but right now it doesn’t make sense financially to do shows there. There would need to be a 25-foot radius in front of the stage, and with that, the venue would only be able to have a capacity of 36 people. But until the Fox opens to the public again, bands will be streaming shows from there without audiences, including three nights with the Infamous Stringdusters, from Friday, October 2, to Sunday, October 4. Trevor Hall will live-stream album-release show without an audience from the Boulder Theater on Saturday, September 26.
Even if a vaccine doesn't become available, Weingarden would like to see people be able to use rapid testing for COVID-19 from home or at a medical facility and load their status on their phone. Then when they show up to the venue, they can show proof that they tested negative that day.
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“My hope is that it’s going to be the new sort of industry standard as to how we're going to be able to navigate increasing capacities at all the venues,” Weingarden says of rapid testing.
Like most in the industry, Weingarden looks forward to having live music again “and having our staff and the bands working again, and having all of the smiling faces of all the audience members back at the venue to help celebrate in this dark time.”
Below is the full Boulder Theater lineup:
Tenth Mountain Division: 8 p.m., Saturday, October 3
Magic Beans (tenth anniversary show): 8 p.m., Wednesday, October 7 through Friday, October 9
Random Rab: 8 p.m., Saturday, October 10
The Good Kind: 8 p.m., Friday, October 23
Wood Belly: 8 p.m., Friday, November 6
Jane and Matthews (EP release party): 8 p.m., Saturday, November 7
Acoustic Ambush: 8 p.m., Friday, November 13.
Mountain Rose: 8 p.m., Saturday, November 14
Pamlico Sound: 8 p.m., Friday, December 11