Bev Knight and Bob Johns open up the summer music program at the Waterwheel Park bandshell. (Photo by Craig Spence)

Music soothes the COVID beast

Cultural Arts Society launches a summer entertainment package with restrictions

All is not lost with a summer entertainment program for the Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society after all.

COVID-19, be damned, some shows must go on at the Waterwheel Park bandshell.

“We put a proposal into the Municipality and said ‘this is what we’re going to do and they approved it,’” said CVCAS president Bev Knight. “We’re doing quite a few things different.”

Adhering to social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of the virus is just the beginning.

“We plastered the place with all kinds of signs,” noted Knight.

Markings in the aisles and on the benches indicate crowd flow and seating to avoid anyone getting too close. A hand sanitation station and masks are provided.

The big thing is large events are not possible, with crowds of only up to 50 being accommodated.

The first show of the season Saturday featured Mark Crissinger.

“Mark was like a test to see if we could actually handle it and there was about 50 people,” said Knight.

“Everybody did phenomenal the other day.”

Crissinger also brought his own sound system and other performers will do the same for safety reasons so there’s no extra hands touching everything.

Saturday performances will typically be split into two sets from 2 to 3 p.m. and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. so a different set of 50 people can watch and listen to the show.

There’s always people standing back farther and even into the parking lot outside the location which is fine as long as the physical distancing remains maintained.

It’s all good news for people starved for music in what would otherwise have been a full summer drought, but also great for the entertainers.

“We received a grant for COVID musicians,” Knight pointed out. “We had to figure out a way to pay some of these local musicians some money.”

The grant was received in April from the BC Arts Council. Donations are also taken at the venue to help with expenses.

There will also be Tuesday night performances from 7 to 9 p.m. with a break in between. Those have always been extremely popular in the past and admittance will be restricted to the first 50 people and then cut off.

Some great music from Atlantic Canada and fun was provided by Tom Morrissey and his band in the first of the Tuesday concerts this week.

The lineup for upcoming acts is still a work in progress so people are urged to check out the CVCAS.com website.

Some of the confirmed shows include: The Copper Canyon Band Saturday, July 25 for two sets; a bluegrass afternoon show Aug. 1 with bands to be confirmed; South Island Rhythm Kings Aug. 8; Wayne Montgomery Aug. 15 and Old Time Rock and Roll on Aug. 22.

Knight added some consideration is also being given to staging a pop-up concert.

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