When patrons walk into Animas City Theatre on Friday night and the band takes the stage, it will be the first time in more than a year.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, ACT hosted its last show March 14, 2020, and closed its doors the next day. Now, the venue has two local bands scheduled to play – “psychedelic gumbo” jam band Red Eyed Djinn performs two shows tonight, and funk-meets-pop, rock-meets-hip-hop, jazz-meets-reggae Elder Grown will play two shows May 7. Both shows are sponsored by Prohibition Herb, said Eugene Salaz, production manager for ACT.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, this reporter is married to Art Cahill, bass player for Red Eyed Djinn.)
Because ACT is an indoor venue, extensive safety protocols will be followed, said ACT co-owner Michele Redding, adding that the theater’s guidelines are the product of months of work.
“We’ve been editing it and modifying it over the last few months, trying to decide when we would be prepared to open and what things would look like,” she said. “I’m a member of CIVA – Colorado Independent Venue Association – and through that association, I’ve been working with other venue owners to come up with guidelines and seeing what other venues that opened a little earlier than us have been doing, what their protocols look like, and following San Juan Basin Health guidelines.”
These guidelines include:
The theater is limited to a 50-person capacity. Tickets are being sold only by the table (tables of two, three, four and six people are available) and are only available for purchase online.
Attendees are asked to practice social distancing when lined up outside the venue before entry.Masks must be worn at all times when patrons are away from their table. And hand-washing and direction arrows will be in use.Patrons are asked to arrive with their complete party. The groups will be escorted to their designated table/sections before show time, incomplete groups will not be escorted. At the end of the show, complete tables will be escorted out of the theater. Parties must remain at their designated table/section for the duration of the set, intermingling with separate tables or parties is not allowed. Dancing will be allowed at each table/section. Bartenders will be taking table-side drink orders, and delivering drinks and/or a scan code menu will be available at the tables. If you or any one in a party is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms before the show, contact Redding at [email protected] to arrange for a refund.And, while there are safety protocols to follow, the theater asks for patrons’ patience.
“The Animas City Theatre has been closed for all events for over a year, and we ask that all attendees please be kind to our staff and to each other,” ACT’s website says. “We look forward to the time when we can have full capacity shows with no social distancing or mask regulations, but for the time being, the Animas City Theatre will be following all state and local COVID-19 restrictions, events that host 10 or more people will have mask mandates.”
Salaz said that for now, ACT is getting its feet back by starting out with local bands. Ticket prices have been raised because of the limited capacity allowed in the venue. He said that after these two initial shows, the only other events on ACT’s calendar right now are the after parties for the upcoming iAM MUSIC fest over the summer.
Redding added that scheduling bands from out of town is hard right now because of fluctuating capacity requirements because of the pandemic: “It’s really hard to book acts when you don’t know how many tickets you can sell.”
And while for now it’s baby steps getting live music and audiences back into indoor venues, Redding said people are excited to get back out to see live indoor shows.
“We’re getting a lot of feedback that everyone’s ready,” Redding said. “We just want to do it safely for everybody and make sure that everyone feels comfortable coming back to a venue like this.”