As local entertainment venues like Frederick’s Weinberg Center for the Arts struggle with the uncertainty of reopening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, other regional spots are in the same situation.
In Pennsylvania and West Virginia, bookings at everything from outdoor concert sites to museums are either postponed or canceled, or in complete limbo as scheduling officials stress over when it is safe — and legal — to reopen.
In Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, the popular outdoor concert venue S&T Bank Music Park has three scheduled concerts in mid-June that have yet to be canceled or postponed. They include bands like Maroon 5, Megadeth and Nickelback. The venue posted Monday that it’s working with artists to bring ticket holders the most updated information as quickly as possible.
The venue operates through Live Nation, which has rescheduled some of its summer concerts — like one featuring the Dave Matthews Band — to next year. Live Nation announced it would honor already purchased tickets for the new show dates or consider requests for refunds.
The venue posted on its Facebook page last month about Live Nation’s “Ticket Relief Plan,” which includes refund options if a show is canceled or postponed due to the pandemic.
“We know how important live events are to each of you and we thank you for your patience as we all continue to work through these unprecedented times together,” the post read. “For everyone missing concerts as much as we are, just know we will be here ready to start the show, when we can all experience the magic of live music together again.”
Other events in Washington County, Pennsylvania, are in limbo as well. The Monongahela Aquatorium hosts festivals, parties and concerts throughout the season, but this year, things are up in the air.
“We haven’t made any decisions,” said Claudia Williams, who’s on the board of directors for the nonprofit venue, owned by the city of Monongahela. “We have bookings pending, but we haven’t cancelled or confirmed them.”Other major summer festivals, events and parades — like the first-ever Pride Festival and the annual Whiskey Rebellion Festival — were canceled in Washington County.
The Whiskey Rebellion is a four-day celebration of Washington’s history that typically brings large crowds each year.
“We felt that although it’s a difficult decision, it absolutely had to be made that way,” said Festival Co-Chair Joseph Piszczor. “We are going to try to have some activities virtually to keep the celebration alive. These events, especially the Whiskey Rebellion, give our community a lot of opportunity to connect and engage with each other.”
Washington Mayor Scott Putnam said that while he understands the decision, canceling the popular festival will be “a crushing blow to the city and local economy.”
“The numbers are around 20,000 that come to our downtown,” he said. “Many are making that trip for the first time, and many come back year to year.”
West VirginiaCOVID-19 forced venues around West Virginia to cancel and reschedule an array of events, ranging everywhere from country concerts featuring Gary Allan and Trace Adkins to musical productions like “An American in Paris.”
In Parkersburg, the first two performances of the popular Point Park Concert Series — which brings tribute acts to the amphitheater on the Ohio River — have been canceled. The Actors Guild of Parkersburg community theater group postponed its productions of “The Producers,” “Hallelujah Girls” and “Rock of Ages,” with no new dates set.
Parkersburg’s historic Smoot Theatre was set to close out its season on April 17 with the musical “Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story.” It has since been rescheduled for Oct. 31, with the 2020-21 season now pushed back to November rather than its usual August or September start, said Felice Jorgeson, theater director.
“We don’t know when we can even open,” she said. “Who wants to sit that close to other people?”
As one season comes to a close, the mostly volunteer-run theater’s cash level often gets low while season passes and donations are solicited.
“So the checks come in the mail, and the bank account gets full again,” Jorgeson said. “Our season patrons are our lifeblood.”
The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston encompasses a children’s museum, art museum and performance hall. It’s been closed since mid-March, with the mission to bring access to the arts and sciences shifting online with educational activities and virtual performances by local artists, said Morgan Robinson, vice president of marketing and sales for the center.
A number of performances were moved from spring to summer, but as restrictions have been slow to lift, the schedule is changing again. Some activities may resume in the fall, but potentially bigger draws are being pushed back even further.
Three Dog Night was set to take the stage April 23 and has since been rescheduled to July 3. The band — whose hits include “Joy to the World” and “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” — expected to fill the Maier Foundation Performance Hall to its near-1,800-seat capacity. But now, Robinson said “it’s looking like that’s going to be moved to 2021.”
— Ogden Newspapers staff