Article by: Nick Lamorueux
Let’s face it, we’re living in times that are completely uncharted and there’s really no one around to ask how to manage it. COVID-19 has impacted millions of humans across the globe across all industries, and one of the biggest impacted industries has been one that is close to many of us: the entertainment industry.
We are starting to see major festivals reappear around the world, in places like Taiwan and even in Wuhan, China where the virus originated. We are also seeing a surge of companies in the United States making moves as well, with socially distanced shows like drive-in raves and now even some club events with many restrictions and precautions in place. Christian Jones and his team at Elation in Las Vegas are one of those companies that are trying to return to some sort of live music entertainment. Lovers of trance and techno music can find Elation hosting weekly socially distanced events at a new venue, Discopussy, located in downtown Las Vegas. The venue’s production value on these events are minimal due to the genres they feature, but it does have a Void sound system and miscellaneous lights everywhere, all while featuring a giant LED octopus that covers almost the entirety of the venue. At first, Elation was hesitant to start with events again because, like everyone else, they just didn’t know what repercussions would come with it. But they knew if they were to move forward with it, then extreme precautions would need to be taken.
In order to attend an Elation event, you first need to make a reservation, and your group is limited to four persons who must arrive at the venue together. Precautions are taken while in line, as groups are spaced out in a checkered pattern at least 6 feet apart. Masks are mandatory while moving throughout the venue, and once inside you must go immediately to your table to be seated. If you do need to leave your seat to use the restroom, masks are again required, and they have strategically placed hand sanitizers throughout the venue.
One of the downfalls of these types of events is that you are still not able to stand up at your seat location and dance around to the music, but attendee Codie Early says, “It’s not live music in the way we want it, but it fills the void.” There is definitely a market for people who are trying to go and get some sort of normalcy from enjoying live music while taking the necessary mandated precautions. Codie continues saying there was “never a moment where I felt ‘damn maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now.’ ”
This is a relatively new concept that only a few venues around the country are doing. Normally what would be a 900-person capacity venue is now limited to only 150 people inside at any time. These businesses have been struggling since lockdown, so for them, even a baby step back is still a step towards recovery.
Attendance and space aren’t the only challenges they’ve been facing though. The biggest challenge right now has been getting agents to accept bookings. A lot of people are really worried about imagery right now and are concerned about the negative perception in the scene if they were to accept a gig, even if the hiring company has taken the maximum amount of precaution that’s possible. Christian estimates that most agents want to feel out the next four to six weeks to see how everything plays out.
Furthermore, entertainment companies have to deal with the frustrations of attendees that get upset for not being able to get up and dance. Elation’s top focus has been taking precautions and wants to make sure the venue is doing the same.
It’s a tough situation for everyone involved, and the industry understands there will be some pushback. When asked for a comment about the people who are still questioning whether or not events in any capacity should be happening right now, Christian said:
“We completely respect the fact that they don’t want to come out yet. Just know that at the end of the day we’ll do anything to maintain our good outlook to people, and when they’re ready to come out we’re more than happy to accept them. I know that it’s hard being away from all of the music and the people that we love, and I know that the music and scene is going to come back 10 times stronger and I can’t wait for that day.”
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