Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

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Colonial Life Arena is set to host its first show since the end of COVID-19 last March, a Mike Epps-themed comedy.

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

If current plans continue, the April 16 date, five days after the first non-USC sporting event during the pandemic, will be followed by the annual Monster Jam scheduled for 9-11.

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Since the Free Times spoke with general manager Sid Kenyon on March 3, the Columbia R&B Festival, originally scheduled for Chamber’s opening concert on March 27, has been moved to October, and Jimmy Buffett’s April 21 date, as of April 2020, has been canceled. .

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

As Columbia heads into March and April, the biggest concert venues — Colonial Live, Township Auditorium, the big rock club Senate and the socially distanced Tower concert series that began last fall at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center — plan to be back in action. , or get a little closer to normal traffic.

[Update: Township Auditorium has postponed a planned Brett Young concert in April until November. The next show scheduled for the venue is in August.]

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

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They are all implementing COVID-19 protocols and following recommended guidelines. But as Colonial Life’s dodging schedule shows, there’s still little certainty about how spring and the rest of the year will pan out.

That uncertain landscape and the stigma that has greeted the rooms, which some believe are back in business too soon, is why Kenyon is glad his space won’t be the first to hold an event as COVID-19 continues. He said his team is in constant contact with locations in the United States and Canada, some of which have opened earlier than others.

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

“I hate to say they’re guinea pigs, but you know, they gave us a good testing experience,” said the president of South Carolina’s largest indoor arena. “And the athletic disciplines also gave us a good experience.”

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In the Columbia area, the most notable predecessors were the highway events organized by the Tower parties.

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

After building a large outdoor stage with LED screens and socially distanced seating at the old racetrack in Casey, a $1.3 million installation of a large outdoor stage, the venue was forced to pay off five of the nine grand rounds it had planned for November and December.

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Now the venue is set to return in style, kicking off spring with a four-night run with psychedelic turf phenomenon Billy Strings (April 1-4), along with new dates with rock giants Mt. Joi (May 15) and Blackberry Smoke (April 23), and rescheduled shows with Shovels & Rope (May 1) and Winonna Judd (April 25).

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

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But, as with Colonial Life, there has been a change since Free Times spoke March 2 with Adam Epstein, CEO of Innovation Arts and entertainment partner Cola Concerts. Jason Isbell and Amanda Shears’ April 24th date, which was moved from December, is now the September 2nd show with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.

“We act at the discretion of the talent,” he said. “And if they decide they don’t want to play because of some concerns and would rather do it another time, who am I to say?” I’m not taking a position one way or the other, I just want everyone to feel good. And that can happen, you know, if it happens in a way that requires us to change the date for one reason or another, I’m game. All I care about is bringing fans and teams together at a time that works for everyone.”

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

Epstein said the outlook for good weather and higher vaccination numbers gives him hope for a successful 2021. He said sales of Mt. Joey and Blackberry Smoke has already outgrown the venue’s fall party response, which he explained has been hampered by colder-than-expected weather and a spike in COVID-19 cases heading into the holiday season.

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Epstein replied, “We’re not.” “It was all because of the climate at that time, and it’s still autumn. And after talking with colleagues in other cities, they found out the same. July, August and September were very successful.

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

“When people like us who do these trips and places start showing up in October, things really go wrong,” he said. “And sales across the United States, except for some places in California, have slowed to the point where they were bad.” People were losing a lot of money and the audience dried up and they stopped coming.”

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Cola Concerts and Colonial Life currently operate in a similar capacity. Motorway moves the maximum capacity in the bay from four to eight depending on what suits the performer, and can now exceed 5,000 people, while the arena operates at about 25 percent of its normal capacity of 18,000 to allow for social distancing.

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

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Both Epstein and Kenyon emphasized the importance of finding artists willing to make deals that could work within these constraints, as well as artists who could accumulate enough tour stops to make it worthwhile.

“We should have artists and groups that want it,” Kenyon said. “We’ve talked to some groups and I don’t want to get into specific names, but some artists are saying that until everyone is basically vaccinated, they don’t want to come out. Then we have some who say they don’t want to. Concern. But to make the big, big tours work financially, you know “They tell us they can’t do anything in stages. Almost the whole country must be opened up, or at least a large part of the country close to it. Because they can’t do a one-shot with most things.”

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

The situation worsened with the arrival of winter as the regular seating area struggled with very limited seating, said Derek Osborne, regional director of live music pub chain Tin Roof, which oversees the Columbia location and the adjacent Senate seat. But now tours are beginning to return, including popular country rock band The Wild Feathers on April 22, one of the first attempts to return to general admission parties. The show is limited to 250 people.

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Osborne admitted that enforcing social distancing and wearing masks (required when not eating or drinking) with a crowd in a darkened room would be a challenge.

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

“There’s only so much we can do,” he said. “When they buy tickets, of course it says that we don’t allow gatherings at the checkpoint.” We keep our tables on the floor, all spaced apart, and hope and encourage people to stay with their group around the table. “

He added: “When you first walk in, we’ll have signs that say: Please, you know, we encourage social distancing, no large gatherings, please keep your distance between your groups.” “We also have people who will go and disinfect things and remind people … and that’s really all we can do.”

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Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

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While Kenyon is confident that Colonial Life can safely run its upcoming events, he also talked about the difficulties in trying to enforce this type of mask requirement.

“The (basketball) season ticket holders … are used to being here,” Kenyon offered. “They have some ownership of the place. They’re invested in what’s going on here. So it’s probably going to be easier to deal with them. I think it’s going to be more of a problem staying in the dark, maybe depending on how crowded it is. . Is there more alcohol consumption? You know, it kind of depends. I think we have to be prepared for that.”

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

On the smaller end of the scale, West Columbia Rock stalwart Diving New Brookland Tavern has started hosting a few big local bills with a limited capacity of about 50 people while also trying to draw people in for trivia and dinners. But it was not smooth sailing.

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A series of positive COVID-19 tests among employees forced the pub to close for two days last month and postpone a Mel Washington-themed concert in Charleston.

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

As for getting back to something close to normal, promotions/marketing coordinator and audio engineer Carlin Thompson said it sounds like it’s down as soon as possible.

“While the number of cases is high, there is no reason to be at full capacity or we are out of supply, a show for 250 or 300 people, there is no reason to do that. Because it puts more people at risk.”

Spring Jam 2023 Columbia Sc

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Jordan Lawrence has been employed by Free Time since 2014. He lives in West Columbia with his wife, dog, three cats and a bearded dragon.

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