ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After a small change in language caused a major shift in the ability of bars, restaurants, and performing arts centers to present “incidental” or “performing” shows, a new but already prominent livestreaming series has been canceled.
“Easy Like Sunday Evening” was produced by Three Heads Brewing, and led by Geoff Dale, the “Minister of Mayhem” and music programmer for the brewery, which is also one of Rochester’s most prominent local small-to-medium music venues.
The livestream series featured favorite local groups — like Teagan and the Tweeds and Sam Snyder — with an extremely limited audience. All tables were spaced over six feet away, and were distanced 12 feet from the performers. Dale prioritized safety for musicians and patrons.
“People were coming up to us, commenting on how safe they felt here,” he said.
However, despite their safety measures, Dale says that no “performance” of any type can happen, so he had to cancel the series.
“I’ve learned not to react,” Dale said. “There always seems to be a clarification a day or so after. Having gone through the channels beforehand, it wasn’t super clear, but I got the OK from the city to do what we were doing.”
Dale says that the intent was not to hold a large gathering, but rather hold a livestreamed performance with small “studio audience.” He say that even the biggest gathering maxed out at under 30 people, including staff. Well below the 50-person non-essential gathering limit.
But all that said, while Dale is “selfishly” upset, he says there’s something bigger at stake.
“I’m sad because I thought put the work in and were doing things the right way,” he said. “On a holistic level, I understand what they’re doing. A lot of places were breaking the rules, and you would see these big concerts where there wasn’t social distancing happening, and because of that, we have to be safe. This is bigger than a concert series, this is bigger than this situation. This is a global pandemic.
“We need to have some personal responsibility and some of the venues need to really do some soul-searching, and really think about what they’re doing, and how they’ve helped us get to this point,” an passionate Dale said. “Maybe if even everyone was taking this more seriously, we could get through it a little bit quicker.”
A spokesperson with the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce says that livestreaming a concert is allowed as long as “gathering limits are abided by, there is no audience, and all musicians and crew members follow all DOH guidelines, including social distancing, sanitizing, and masking.”
While Dale believes that it is the mission of the brewery to advance original art and artists in the community, he says that this would be economically nonviable, given the production costs.