Concert venues prepare to welcome crowds back

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Intersection in Grand Rapids is getting ready to host a concert on July 8, its first since March 12, 2020.

Scott Hammontree, the venue’s operating partner and talent buyer, is thrilled to be busy once again. 

“Probably one of the best things since the pandemic was telling the employees, one by one, that we’re coming back,” Hammontree said. 

Staff is getting the venue ready for concerts after 15 months of inactivity. 

“Our sound guys have been here all this week taking out the equipment, testing it, and checking safety cables,” Hammontree said. 

Tropidelic, a band that blends several types of sounds including reggae and funk, will be the first act to play inside the venue. The concert will be held at Elevation, one of the performance areas inside The Intersection. Elevation has a capacity for 800 people. 

“We’ll be full capacity on July 8 when we open,” Hammontree said. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will lift capacity requirements and will no longer require people to wear masks indoors, vaccinated or not, on June 22. However, MDHHS is allowing businesses to decide if they want to enforce mask usage. 

Operators at The Intersection are still pondering their decision.

“We’re going to be looking at that probably in the next week or so,” Hammontree said. “A week before our first show we’ll send an email to all our customers with our expectations, what the guidelines will be.”

In addition to hosting concerts once again, there’s more positive news for the venue and its operators: They’re expecting to receive financial assistance from the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant.

Thousands of entertainment venues nationwide have applied for the grant. 

“That’s the last piece for us, to make sure that grant gets given out and that we get one,” Hammontree said. “It’s 45% of our revenue from 2019. Substantial amount of money that will enable us to bring back our full staff, pay old bills. It will help venues across the country.”

There are several shows lined up in July and August at The Intersection, but September is when the venue will see a big rush of bands and fans. The venue is expecting to host at least 15 concerts that month.

The venue currently has about 75 shows scheduled from now until the end of the year but Hammontree expects that number to rise. 

You can find their full schedule at sectionlive.com.

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