Despite the uncertainty around reopening protocols, McMenamins Edgefield has started booking concerts for this fall.
On Friday, tickets will go on sale for the outdoor venue’s first show in over a year, a Machine Gun Kelly concert scheduled for Oct. 13.
Edgefield plans to the host the show “at or near” full capacity. Current state guidelines would allow outdoor entertainment establishments to operate at a maximum of 50% capacity once a county is designated as lower risk, a percentage many local venue operators claim is too low to sustainably cover operating costs. Under the extreme risk designation that will go in effect this Friday, outdoor venues can host no more than 50 patrons.
It’s unclear if those guideline will change by October. But in a statement released today, McMenamins music director Jimi Biron and Monqui Presents general manager Jamie McKillop expressed a mix of optimism and urgency.
“While this guidance is pending, bands are booking their summer tour dates, and in order to have any chance at hosting concerts for fans this year, we must begin planning now,” reads the statement. “It’s important to note that for our shows to take place, we will need to operate our outdoor concerts as close to full capacity as possible. Given the fact that our first concert is scheduled to take place months after every American 16 and older will have been eligible for vaccination, and the low risk for outdoor transmission, we are confident that we can do so.”
Earlier this month, dozens of live entertainment venues across Oregon signed a letter to Gov. Kate Brown asking for updated reopening guidelines, including allowing establishments to operate at full capacity 30 days after a county is deemed low risk. Both McMenamins and Monqui Presents were signatories of the letter.