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Pandemic Restrictions Relax and Live Shows Return

The first national act is set to perform in Northern Louisiana for the first time in a year. Big Po, with an opening act of HitMan, is set to rock the stage on Friday, March 26th at The Hub Music Hall in downtown Monroe.

The Covid Pandemic has taken a toll on the whole world. As a nation, we have grieved the loss of human life on a vast scale. Our thoughts and prayers go up to those who have lost loved ones during this hard time.

On another view of the spectrum, we have watched all normalcy go out the window. Children had to learn to do school work via the internet. Parents found themselves working from home or unemployed completely. Dine-in restaurants, gyms and bars closed down; some permanently.

Some of the hardest hit economically, were those who worked in the music industry. Artists, who make most of their income performing at live shows, were forced to halt all tours. Venues, like those bars mentioned, have hit the point that there is no economic comeback. Financially, the music industry has been slaughtered.

Yelp collected data on business closures. In September of 2020, Yelp reported that 6,451 bars and clubs had closed. 54% of those had permanently closed. That truly cuts down on venues for artists to perform at.

Louisiana has been very strict with restrictions on businesses to try to cut down on the spread of coronavirus. While other states are starting to open completely, Louisiana just moved into Phase 3. On March 3rd, 2021, Governor John Bel Edwards eased restrictions across the state. This allowed bars and other nightlife businesses to open at 50% capacity for parishes below a 5% positivity rate and 25% capacity for those above the positivity rate.

The restrictions placed on the venues will be very strict. The owner of The Hub, Amanda Lyon, told local KNOE News recently, "The restrictions that go along with it are extremely strict. When we do have live entertainment, we’re going to have certain restrictions that we have to follow all the way down from maybe like plexiglass to a slit in your mask for someone to play a wind instrument, things of that nature. But we are excited because we are a music hall. So we’re really excited to have live music back here.”

The Hub generally has a max capacity of 1000. With the new guidelines, they are only allowed to open their doors to 250 people at a time. Despite the guidelines and threat of Coronavirus, tickets are selling quickly for the Big PO show. People are ready to get a taste of some sort of normalcy. The ability to attend live shows became music to their ears.

If you follow a lot of musicians and have social media friends that frequently attend live shows, your Facebook timeline probably looks similar to mine. Everyone is ready for live music. They need a break from sitting at home. They want the atmosphere of people jamming out together. This year has been nothing short of depressing for the music lover and artist alike.

According to an article by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, depression has risen 3 times higher during the pandemic. The article was released in September of 2020. In the article, it mentions that depression only doubled during previous traumatic events including the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 and the Ebola outbreaks in 2014. The difference between the three events is the amount of social lock down we have faced in the past year, and the financial impact that it's had.

While we aren't in the clear from the coronavirus, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The music industry can slowly start the long process of recovery. The fans can take a break and refresh their spirits.

If you are in Northern Louisiana and you want to hit up the Big Po show, you can get your tickets here. Get them soon because they are almost gone. Anyone who wears a Halloween mask to the show gets to stick around after the concert to be in the filming of a music video following the concert.

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