Vancouver live music scene could be back within months

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With B.C. seemingly getting a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic and the province talking about the return of live music, the owner of a venue in Vancouver is excited.

Mo Tarmohamed owns the Rickshaw Theatre and says the plan to allow concerts in early September is sooner than he expected.

“My wishlist, I guess, would have had a gradual introduction back to concerts by October. So, this far exceeds that expectation,” he said, adding it’s great to have several months ‘ notice to book live shows.

He says the venue has already scheduled a show for Sept. 11.

Tarmohamed points out Vancouver’s music scene has taken a major hit since last March, when things first started shutting down.

“Our last show here was March 14, 2020. It was 14 months ago,” he said, though some virtual concerts have been held since.

“Musicians that get onstage for our live streams, it’s a very emotional experience for them. I see them get teary-eyed … there’s just been a devastating effect on them,” he said.

But there are still some variables to consider, including questions about when the Canada-U.S. border will reopen.

“A lot of my business is predicated on international touring acts,” Tarmohamed says.

“I think it’ll be kind of a heyday for local musicians. They’ll probably see crowds way more than they’re used to getting. I think it’ll be a big boon to the music scene,” he said.

Related article: Timeline: B.C.’s restart plan

Tarmohamed believes with pent-up demand, we could be on the verge of  another “Roaring Twenties.”

“At least, for the first couple of years. I think people won’t take going to shows, or any arts events, for granted anymore. Because they know what it’s like to have it just go away in the space of a day,” he says.

“I think people will definitely come out to support the local arts scene.”

At any rate, he expects artists and fans will be thrilled to return and expects to book far more shows than he did pre-pandemic.

The province says when 70 per cent or more adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and if cases and hospitalizations remain low — restrictions will be lifted to allow large, indoor concerts. The earliest that could happen is Sept. 7.

The resumption of large, indoor concerts will happen in the final stage of the province’s four-stage re-opening plan. At that stage, masks would no longer be required and we would be back to “normal social contact.”

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