With over 32% of Utahns fully vaccinated and 44% at least getting their first dose, the state is beginning to reopen, including planning for full capacity concerts in Salt Lake this summer.
According to Nic Smith, director of revenue for local concert company Sartain and Saunders, full capacity shows resumed this past weekend at Urban Lounge and Metro Music Hall. Kilby Court, which has been putting on limited capacity shows amid the pandemic, will resume full capacity shows on July 1.
“Our thinking is that enough time has passed in Utah for all adults who wanted the vaccine to have received it,” Smith said.
Squid Picnic, an indie rock band from Bountiful, will be headlining the first full capacity show at Kilby since March 2020. Masks will be optional at all Sartain and Saunders venues, and proof of vaccination will not be required.
Other full capacity shows are due to come this year, as the popular Ogden and Salt Lake City Twilight concert series announced their lineups, with seven out of the ten Ogden Twilight shows already selling out.
Another venue in Salt Lake, The Complex, announced full capacity shows for this summer and fall, with Lil Tjay being the first concert they have hosted for over a year on June 4.
The majority of Salt Lake Community College students are eager to attend some form of concert this summer, according to a recent poll conducted on The Globe’s Twitter account.
44% of respondents said they would feel safe going to indoor and outdoor concerts, 50% of the respondents said they would feel safe only at outdoor venues, while 6% said they wouldn’t feel safe to attend any shows.
SLCC journalism and digital media alum Luis Salazar can’t wait to get back to full capacity shows.
“I miss the atmosphere of being surrounded by a huge crowd of people while all of you unanimously sing along to the same song,” Salazar said.
But some SLCC students, including nursing major Tamra Rachol, feel hesitation toward indoor full capacity shows.
“I still have an incredible amount of anxiety about big crowds so I will likely take things slow, but I’m excited to see them revving back up,” Rachol said.
SLCC professor Jim Beatty feels hesitant as well.
“Personally, I feel it’s a little too soon. From what I understand of the science, COVID-19 will be considered under control when the seven-day positive rate is below 5%. Right now, it’s at 6.7%,” Beatty said. For this reason, he does not plan to go to any concerts until this September.
But when Beatty does feel safe to return to full capacity shows, he’s more than excited, noting what he misses most about concerts.
“I miss the sense of community with other fans and the energy that creates between the crowd and the band. Especially at punk shows, I feel like I’m with my people,” Beatty said.
The past year has been historically difficult for music venues. Many smaller venues had to shut down after pandemic restrictions prohibited full capacity shows.
Music venue owners have had to get creative during the pandemic. Sartain and Saunders opted to put on safe concert cruises around Salt Lake, as well as masked and socially distanced outdoor and indoor shows.
Smith feels excited to get back to putting on full capacity concerts and voiced his gratitude for the support over this especially hard year.
“I’ve appreciated the resilience of our music community in Salt Lake and have become even more thankful to everyone who supported us, donated, and overall made us feel protected during a time where we thought we might lose everything,” Smith said, adding that he can’t wait to get back to putting on some great shows both this year and in 2022.
Sartain and Saunders will not allow kids under 12 into concerts until vaccines can be administered to them. Upcoming Sartain and Saunders shows can be found on their website.