Tedeschi Trucks will open the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater on June 29 after being excluded from the pandemic for more than a year. (Port City Daily / Courtesy Michael F. O’Brien)
WILMINGTON – Following the announcement of the official opening of Riverfront Park last week with the three-day Widespread Panic run – not to mention the upcoming summer program – more venues will be back on stream after the Covid-19 shutdown.
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Greenfield Lake Amphitheater announced yesterday that it has booked its first new show in over a year with Shaky Graves on August 29th (tickets for $ 30-40, on sale today at 10 a.m.). Today, the 1,200-seat outdoor amphitheater announced that it will officially reopen to the public on June 29 with Tedeschi Trucks (tickets, $ 75, on sale Friday, May 15, 10am).
“Apparently Susan and Derek were livestreaming called ‘Fireside’ during the pandemic. This is a live version of it that isn’t made up of the entire band but six or seven rotating members, ”said Beau Gunn, who books shows for Greenfield Lake and is general manager of Live Local Media, owns Wilmington’s Penguin 98.3 and Port City Daily.
Gunn said Greenfield Lake had scheduled 38 or 40 concerts in 2020. 12 canceled and 13 were not even announced. It had to postpone several shows from the 2020 season, including Umphrey’s McGee on Aug 5 (tickets, $ 39-45, on sale now), Eric Gales on Aug 7 (tickets, $ 37-45, on sale now), Scott McCreery on August 27th (tickets, $ 40, on sale now) and The Revivalists on September 28th (sold out). Stephen Marley has also been postponed, a date to be announced.
“I suspect The Penguin will have 16-20 shows this year,” Gunn revealed the 2021 schedule, “with a total of 20 or more taking place at the lake if you add outside promoters.”
The Wilson Center announced yesterday that Melissa Etheridge will be arriving in Wilmington this fall, November 7th (tickets range from $ 47 to $ 122, available May 14 at 10:00 am). The 1,500-seat venue has postponed several tours from 2020, including 1970s disco artist Village People on August 19 (tickets $ 40 to $ 99), yacht rocker Boz Scaggs on October 23 (tickets 67 to $ 123) and country musician Trace Adkins (tickets, $ 54- $ 122) on December 2nd.
“There are dozens of shows featuring holds over the course of 2022-2025,” said Shane Fernando, executive director of the Wilson Center.
Fernando was in the process of rebooking shows, concerts and Broadway tour musicals alike. “We will be ready to come out on fire once the green light is given that we can present national tours in a safe manner,” he said.
In 2019-2020, the Wilson Center should have its biggest year since it opened in 2015. Fernando said they would book continuously and continuously.
“We’ve almost doubled our range every year since we opened more than five years ago,” he said.
Only two shows had to be canceled during the shutdown. “Dozens of other performances are with us and numerous other venues along the east coast and beyond in the rescheduling process to find dates and put the tour back together,” said Fernando.
Currently, the Wilson Center can only be opened to 398 people under the governor’s executive order. If Governor Roy Cooper sticks to his goal of fully opening the state and easing restrictions by June 1, the CFCC venue can reach full capacity.
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“It all depends on the security and regulations that are put in place to protect our audience, our performers and the crew,” said Fernando. “We have shows in the wings, but that depends on public safety and consumer confidence.”
Fernando said that with falling Covid-19 numbers, the industry would get more security for the resumption of services. While the Wilson Center opened two weeks ago to host the Opera House Theater Company’s musical revue “Uptown at the Cotton Club”, it has not hosted a show from its presentation arm, Cape Fear Stage, since March 2020.
“All segments of this industry have simply been decimated and we are all struggling to stay afloat to get to the other side,” said Fernando. “I see more and more people in this business helping each other as we all work to move forward.”
According to Fernando and Gunn, balancing the “new normal” has forced the industry to bypass tricky parameters. There are different guidelines for different states, so audience and artist must be on the same page. Gunn also said performing artists seem more flexible to fit into a date as needed.
“At the moment everything is a bottleneck,” he said. “It’s all very closely related, and until the majority of the states around us are all on one side [with Covid protocols]I suspect we will continue to see a sluggish return to live music – but a return nonetheless! “
Both venues will follow the NC mandates under Covid-19, which are due to open this summer.
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