COLORADO SPRINGS — With the announcement this week that Red Rocks will be opening at a limited capacity, it's clear concerts are coming back to Colorado, but they look very different.
On April 3, The Black Sheep will have their first taste of live music since last March. "Kind of nerve-racking. We're all kind of stuck in this bar mode, and then we have to go back to show mode... Learning the whole game all over again with new rules," said the General Manager of The Black Sheep, Kevin Zirfas.
The venue would normally hold anywhere from 400-500 people inside, but now is capped at 54 people. The venue has set up outdoor seating during the pandemic, which allows them to serve between 100-120 people between both spaces. "Sporting events are allowing fans back in, and in theaters and stuff, but they're a giant room. We are not like that. So, the six feet between parties or people really takes a lot of people out of this room," said Zirfas.
Tickets for shows are not sold individually right now, but by the table. Four seats come to a table, and patrons are required to wear their mask when not at their seat. The tables are socially distanced as well. "The table thing is a whole different realm for everybody here. We're just like this is so weird, we're so used to everybody being on top of each other," said Zirfas.
Izzie Hicks is a junior at Colorado College who purchased tickets to a Red Rocks show originally scheduled for the summer of 2020. That show was delayed until this summer, and then pushed back again until next year. Even though Hicks misses live music, when asked if she would go to a concert soon, she "probably wouldn't do it for a few months."
However, Jylien Jade said she has hated not being able to see live music. Jade said she would appreciate anything she could do to go to a concert. "Probably wear my mask, or double mask, something, but I would go see a show... Once in a lifetime experience for a lot of people. And I think it shapes the way that music sounds, and like the feel of music, because you can not like a band, and then go see them live, and you can have the most love for that band. Because it's just the energy it brings to people," said Jade.
For those in the industry, like Zirfas, there are still lots of unanswered questions about how concerts will operate in the future. "It's definitely a whole new world coming for live music, and sporting events, and everything with gatherings of people... But, I don't ever see it just being fully 2019 level ever again," said Zirfas.
April 3 is described as a soft opening for bringing music back to the stage at The Black Sheep. Their next concert is slated for April 23, and their schedule stretches all the way into October right now.