After being closed since early March due to the pandemic, Boulder Theater will reopen its doors in October to offer music fans a series of socially distanced dinner shows.
The intimate series, which will run through Dec. 11, currently features close to a dozen dates with an eclectic array of Colorado-based artists and fare from McDevitt Taco Supply included in the purchase of a $50 ticket.
“We’re extremely excited to be offering up concerts again — albeit at a reduced capacity — for the community, our staff and the bands,” said David Weingarden, Z2 Entertainment’s vice president of concerts and events and talent buyer. “That’s the real inspiration — to get everyone back to work and bring the music back.”
Each show is limited to 100 attendees. While patrons will not be able to freely wander like they would pre-pandemic, they can gather with a group of select friends in their party.
Tickets may be purchased in tables of four or eight concertgoers and each ticket boasts two McDevitt Supply tacos, two drinks and chips and salsa for the table.
“Elated is definitely a word I’d use to describe what I’m feeling all the way down to my core right now,” said Christian Hee, senior marketing manager at Z2 Entertainment. “Of course there was an excitement building up as I was getting ready to announce these shows, but I vastly underestimated just how giddy and full of adrenaline I would be once we finally got to share the news with everyone.”
Kicking off the new cabaret-inspired concept will be Boulder’s own Tenth Mountain Division on Oct. 3. Electronic artist Random Rab will take the stage on Oct. 10-11. The Good Kind, known for covering Phish,Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band, the Rolling Stones and Talking Heads, will perform on Oct. 23. Fort Collins-based bluegrass band Wood Belly is scheduled to play on Nov. 6.
“My colleague Joe Golazszewski and I mainly focused on booking local and regional bands, which we thankfully have an enormous amount of talent here,” Weingarden said. “It’s more important than ever to support local artists and businesses.”
Since the announcement of these shows, ticket sales have been soaring. A second Magic Beans show was added, on Oct. 8, after the Nederland jam band’s 10th anniversary gig, on Oct. 9, sold out in minutes.
“I am beyond jazzed up for these gigs at Boulder Theater,” said Scott Hachey, guitarist of Magic Beans. “I was so excited to be included in these limited shows and it almost feels like we’re one step closer to normalcy in the music industry.”
Hachey reinvented his band’s annual Beanstalk festival into a two-day drive-in event at Holiday Twin in Fort Collins. The June event, whose lineup included Kitchen Dwellers, Envy Alo and others, quickly sold out as well.
“Celebrating 10 years is another layer that I’m still digesting,” Hachey said. “It’s been a wild ride and it’s so cool to be back in Boulder, where we started, to celebrate the milestone.”
Other acts include Jane and Matthews on Nov. 7, Acoustic Ambush on Nov. 13 and Mountain Rose on Nov. 14.
“I’m excited to be back in one of my favorite venues and to work with the great production staff there,” Hachey said. “This break has put lots of things in perspective within our community and I know everyone will be in high spirits to be back on the job, bringing music to people. Looking back on the 10 years and then looking out on the crowd of fans and family that made it all possible will be pretty special, too.”
Boulder Theater will reopen following strict local, state and national health guidelines. Hand sanitizing stations, limited capacity bathrooms and a plexiglass shield creating a barrier between patrons and bartenders are just a few of the features guests can expect. Air flow will also be maximized with open doors.
“All staff and concertgoers are required to wear a mask, at all times, within the venue unless patrons are eating or drinking,” Hee said. “Musicians have the option to wear masks on stage, but it’s not a requirement for them as they’ll also be 25 feet away from the closest audience members.”
While the last show of the series is scheduled for Dec. 11 with high-energy funk band The Pamlico Sound, Weingarden predicts this social distance model continuing into 2021 and possibly being adapted by other area venues.
“We’re just grateful that we can have what we have for now and look forward to seeing everyone at the Boulder Theater in October,” Weingarden said. “We’re all very much looking forward to seeing the audience’s smiling faces back in the venues.”