Performing arts venues rebounding during pandemic
COLORADO SPRINGS — As industries hit hard by the pandemic work to rebound, it’s likely been months since any of us have been to an indoor event or concert. Now that restrictions have loosened, venues can hold events at limited capacity.
3E’s Comedy Club in downtown Colorado Springs held its last show in November before El Paso County moved to level red on the COVID-19 dial. However, the owner is now getting ready for the first show since then, which is happening this weekend.
Eric Phillips, the owner, opened the comedy club in September 2020, and the club’s first show was in the middle of the pandemic. Soon after, COVID-19 cases in El Paso County spiked.
“We started losing people that didn’t want to come out in November, when we got to December, we went to red, and we had to shut down everything,” said Phillips. “The struggle is real, it’s been a struggle, but we’re finding a way to make it work.”
Now that restrictions have eased, Phillips is hopeful about the near future.
“We’re really optimistic about 2021,” said Phillips. “We’re booking all the way out. We have January, February, and we’re working on March. We’ll be booked at the end of this month, for the rest of this year hopefully.”
Meanwhile, other live, entertainment venues are still at a stand-still, with many shows canceled or postponed until fall.
Rosanna Taylor works at The Black Sheep, an independent venue in Colorado Spring. She says the last live show held there was back in March 2020.
“There’s so much unknown… It’s been a roller coaster of emotions because we don’t know what’s going on,” said Taylor.
Independent venues like The Black Sheep are now relying on the “Save our Stages Act,” which is a $15 billion measure in the latest COVID-19 relief bill, that will provide funds to theaters and venues nationwide.
“That act helped all these independent venues across the nation, including us, to surive until we can have live shows again. So that’s kind of the silver lining right now,” said Taylor. “The community and the country came together to help us and all these other venues so we can stay afloat.”
In the meantime, The Black Sheep is hosting movie nights, selling merchandise, and their bar is still open. Taylor expects live performances to return in the summer or fall.