UPDATE, May 14: In a press conference today, following the suspension of its ABC license, Temple Live announced it had applied to move the concert to May 18 to fall within state directives.
UPDATE, May 12: In the governor’s daily briefing this afternoon, Hutchinson responded a reporter’s question about the Temple Live concert:
“In terms of the concert, there will be a case and desist order that will be issued by the Department of Health, directing that the concert not take place, which is an official legal order and directive that will go out.”
“Clearly, it is three days before we determined it was an appropriate time to open up, to a limited capacity, some of those indoor venues. And even if you’re going to have 250 people at a venue, you still had to have a specific plan that would be approved by the Department of Health. None of that was done in this case, it’s out of time. Can you imagine what reaction we would have had across Arkansas if we set the date for May 11 to open up restaurants, but a bunch of them just decided to do that on May 5? You can’t just arbitrarily determine when the restrictions are lifted. That is something that is done based upon a public health requirement.”
Temple Live, the Fort Smith venue planning to host a concert from Travis McCready of Bishop Gunn on May 15 — three days before Gov. Hutchinson’s lift on large venue closures goes into effect — is holding the line. The venue has received some national attention for its plans to go ahead with the concert, despite the state’s orders. We talked with venue owner Mike Brown last week about his stance on the closure lifts, and about the logistics the venue is employing for the concert.
The governor said in a briefing yesterday that the concert violates the state’s directives, and that he believed Temple Live’s safety plan to be insufficient. In response, the venue issued a press release last night stating it plans to go ahead with the concert under its “COVID operating protocol,” adding that it believes restrictions on business re-openings in Arkansas aren’t “one size fits all.”
Here’s the full release:
May 11, 2020Plans regarding the May 15th TempleLive ConcertMay 11, 2020 – FORT SMITH, Arkansas – In response to Governor Hutchinson’s comments today, TempleLive currently plans to conduct the Travis McCready concert at its Fort Smith, Arkansas venue on Friday, May 15th as scheduled.The COVID19 precautions and practices established by TempleLive have accumulated interest from other entertainment establishments and are being adopted and implemented worldwide. We believe that the “Fan-Pod” seating model along with other innovative safety protocols which have been adopted by TempleLive create a safe and comfortable environment, and are the next logical steps in bringing live entertainment back to the stage.Lance Beaty, President of Beaty Capital Group Inc., parent company of TempleLive, LLC said, “Our counsel continues to be engaged in discussions with the state, even late this evening, and we hope that science and reason will produce a plan going forward that is satisfactory to all. We appreciate that the situations faced by the Governor and his staff are serious and complex, and much of Arkansas’s COVID19 approach has been praiseworthy. However, in these complex matters, general policies and directives are not always best as “one size fits all”. Therefore, as the needs of the 50 states are not identical, the conditions across the State of Arkansas are not either.”Beaty added, “We believe that our discussions this evening with the State have been productive, and will lead to a resolution that protects the rights of people to assemble, and will allow them to do so in an environment that protects the health and safety of the public, the artists, and our employees.”