CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Live music is making a comeback in the Queen City.
Under North Carolina’s current Executive Order live music venues can operate at 50% capacity with safety protocol in place.
Eric Levasseur founded Records On The Wall, Charlotte’s live music resource, as a way to showcase local live music acts and venues.
He said last year was tough for artists and venues. Some spots turned to live streaming shows to support themselves and the performers when they weren’t allowed to have traditional shows.
“Watching live streams is a great sort of filler for some of that, but that’s never going to replace you being at a live music event and that whole experience that goes along with it,” Levasseur said.
Now, Levasseur said he’s seeing more concerts on the calendar than he’s seen in the last year.
"The analogy to use is a coiled spring in that, you know, that things about to burst,” Levasseur said, “and I think we're going to be ready for it so we're excited."
For the time being, Levasseur said concert-goers can still expect some changes to the experience as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“Everybody has to be responsible,” Levasseur said. “I think going into it you know you’re going to a show, you’re going to be around people, just be smart about it.”
Heist Brewery’s NoDa location and Heist Brewery and Barrel Arts on Woodward Avenue will be hosting various concerts throughout the spring. Heist Brewery and Barrel Arts are planning for live music featuring Ghost Note, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio and DJ Logic next week.
“I saw a report the other day about how live music affects people’s happiness, and I thoroughly believe that,” said Ryan Williams, concert promoter and co-owner of Time2Fly Music. "Just being around your friends and the energy in the room.”
The tables at Heist Brewery are spaced out for social distancing, and Williams said they’re having to keep ticket sales to about a third of the capacity currently.
Williams said he is starting to see demand for live music return.
“Once people start getting vaccinated is when it really started to change,” Williams said. “People who I haven’t seen in a year are coming out now. They’re feeling safer.”
He is optimistic the music industry will rebound as the COVID-19 trends go down.
"As long as that keeps happening and people get vaccinated,” Williams added, “I think we can get back to business later this year."
Lenny Boy Brewing Co. recently started hosting outdoor concerts, using its loading dock as a stage and the parking lot for seating in the audience.
“Live music is kind of a way for people to have an outlet,” Nathan Villaume, owner and operator of Lenny Boy Brewing Co. “You really don’t understand how many people have missed this concert series or just being out and about, and you know, experiencing music with their friends.”
The brewery is selling 135 tickets per show in groups of two or four to keep people socially distanced.
Villaume said it’s helping the small business's bottom line on Friday nights and giving artists a place to perform.
“They're just as excited as the patrons coming through to watch them,” Villaume said. “So, getting to see their smile on the face and you know, their posts on social media afterward about getting out to perform again. I think that's something that's super unique that we're getting to experience and feeling a thankfulness."
Villaume said each time guests enter the concert area they get their temperature checked, and people can experience the whole concert outdoors if they don’t feel safe going inside.
The outdoor concerts of this magnitude weren’t something Lenny Boy Brewing Co. did prior to the pandemic, but Villaume said he can see the concerts sticking around.
“It’s going to be something that we continue to do and continue to grow,” he added.