Miami Beach outdoor venue holding safe, socially distant live shows for concert-starved music lovers

Everyone was up dancing, but they all stayed with their seats and with their masks on. Note live stream of concert happening with 5 cameras and a director switching back at the soundboard. (WPLG)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Live music is back in business in South Florida.

The North Beach Bandshell has been hosting carefully curated and meticulously laid out COVID-19 safe live events since January.

This Valentine’s Day weekend the Bandshell, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, is back with one of its first residencies of the year, Dumpstaphunk from New Orleans, featuring members of the legendary Neville clan.

The band is coming out with a new album in April, “Where Do We Go From Here?” and is already featuring new songs in their set.

The new setup at the Bandshell has the venue operating at about 30 percent capacity with the room needed for social distancing.

Tickets are purchased in sets of two, four or six and you are expected to stay at your seat.

Socially distanced seating- pods of 2, 4 and 6. Premium seating (couches and table) in the rear (under the tents). You can see the QR codes for ordering concessions hanging on the end of each seating group. (WPLG)

The show Local 10′s Brian Doughty attended was very respectful of current conditions. Everyone had a mask on except for when taking a drink or having a bite to eat. While everyone was up and dancing (so many people missing live music!) they all stayed right where their little group of chairs were. Getting through the crowd was a snap as there was lots of room to maneuver between seats.

Social distancing and mask wearing were the rule. No one broke them.

Concessions have changed as well. Each group of seats has a lanyard with a laminate and a QR code in it. Scan that with your phone to order drinks and snacks, which will be brought right to your party.

No more long lines to get a drink, or anything else for that matter.

There was also a roving bar, the sort of cart you might see on an airplane, with your choices of drinks on top and a card reader for payment.

Everything is touchless now, except of course when you have to grab the door handle to get in the bathroom. And while they may chaperone you to your seat, you don’t have to ask if you need to get up to go. So freedom of movement is allowed, to some degree. Again, the entire audience was up and dancing around their chairs before the band even started.

Dumpstaphunk jamming the night away. (WPLG)

Dumpstaphunk was fired up to play and the audience was ready to dance.

Saturday night’s opening show was jammy from the get-go. The band also plays Sunday night; the Bandshell is starting a new residency program where artists will play multiple nights-both for the band to get a feel for the venue and so more fans can attend-as occupancy has had to be drastically reduced in order to meet COVID-19 safety rules.

The Bandshell has more live and simulcast events coming up this month and next and later in April, jam band favorite (he’s been in the Allman Brothers Band and currently plays in Dead & Co.-along with several side projects) Oteil Burbridge Trio will do a two-night residency in late April.

So live music is coming back, albeit in open air venues (of course) first. You just have to remember to keep your distance and keep that mask on.

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