Restrictions easing, but will concerts, festivals take place?

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- With decreasing COVID-19 metrics and increasing vaccinations, organizers are hoping to host events in the coming months.

Last month, Gov. Roy Cooper announced a loosening of capacity limitations at outdoor venues to 30% of capacity and indoor venues that host 5,000 or more people to 15% of capacity. While that means events can take place, whether it is feasible to do so is another matter.

"The talent has to meet a certain amount of fans, otherwise, why are they getting on a plane and traveling across the country?" said Michael Broder, the President of GalaxyCon.

GalaxyCon, an annual, four-day event, is set to take place at the Raleigh Convention Center from July 29 to Aug. 1. Broder said they would need to have at least 33% of capacity to move forward.

"We're going to lose money. But it has to make sense for the exhibitors, it has to make sense for the talent to come, and it has to make sense for the attendees to feel like they're getting a show. So if we're to do it, it has to be where the vendors who come, the attendees who come, aren't wasting their time," Broder said.

Broder said he believes the interest to return from fans exists.

"Based on everything we've seen, the people we've talked to, the surveys we've done, the e-mails, the social media chatter, you're looking at 80% of our fans want to do it, want to go back to a show," Broder said.

RELATED: NC parks encourage continuation of healthy outdoor activities after the COVID-19 pandemic

In mid-June, Brewgaloo, an outdoor festival, is set to take place on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh.

"We are finding that vendors are wanting to come back. They're wanting to participate. They're wanting to get out again, have the opportunity to sell some things. To have an opportunity to connect with people and bring in some business to support their families," said Brewgaloo Director Jennifer Martin.

They are working on submitting plans that comply with safety protocols and crowd-size limitations, including creating pods of 50 people with time limitations; the festival typically draws 40,000 to 50,000 people.

"We're thinking very creatively, strategically on how to still have this in June," Martin said.

Martin, who also serves as Executive Director of Shop Local Raleigh, is more confident about larger gatherings taking place in the fall, like Falling for Local at Dorothea Dix Park.

"We want people to connect before it gets colder outside and it shuts down, with a heavy emphasis on how we can support our local community," Martin said.

It's not the only venue that is looking towards the fall.

"We are all in this together. We have heavily back-loaded the season into the fall because we really hoped that fall would be better and we could have larger crowds. So there's a lot more in the fall, and hopefully maybe even later into the fall than you typically might have sat outside before, and I think fans are willing to do it. I don't care if I need a blanket on my lap, I'm going! We need concerts," said Kerry Painter, the General Manager of the Raleigh Convention and Performing Arts Complex, which operates Red Hat Amphitheater.

While tickets for upcoming shows this spring and summer are available, Painter noted that capacity limits will likely need to be in the 80-85% range for most artists to move forward with performing.

"You can't afford to pay the artists and the trucks and the lighting people and all the equipment and all the staff to do it. So, most of the things that we have in spring we hope will happen, but we also might be able to move them to fall," Painter said.

Concerts and events often take months to plan, so organizers are hopeful for clarity about possible changes to capacity limits soon.

"This is a pivotal time for us, for summer, late summer. We're really going to need some answers coming up in order to make these things viable," Painter said.

Besides the financial considerations from the show, rescheduling and cancellations could result from touring limitations or restrictions in other states, so it's important that you closely read the details about possible refunds prior to purchasing tickets.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.