Trey Anastasio opens the summer concert season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center with a weekend of concerts starting Friday.
The Phish co-founder and frontman is going solo, with three acoustic sets spanning Friday through Sunday. The shows mark the first Live Nation concerts at SPAC since the pandemic began and will also be Anastasio’s first live, in-person performances since then.
Each concert has been sold out for several weeks and according to SPAC’s website, capacity has been limited to 30% but proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test is not required. That’s a change from when the show was first announced in May. At that time, a negative test or proof of vaccination was required, as was mask-wearing.
With this week’s announcement regarding further loosening restrictions in New York, more changes are on the way. As of Tuesday, capacity restrictions, health screenings and other COVID-19 rules for nearly all arts venues had been lifted, though venues can keep them in place if they choose.
At SPAC, all resrtictions won’t be immediately lifted. SPAC’s president and CEO Elizabeth Sobol said there will be updates to the venue’s health protocols and capacity restrictions in the coming days and weeks.
“It’s important to understand, though, that these changes can’t be executed instantaneously. We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through the very quickly changing landscape with its ramifications and complexities,” Sobol said.
For organizers of Scotia’s Freedom Park Summer Concert Series, the loosened restrictions come just in time. The concert series, which features local bands, starts Wednesday, and while organizers originally planned to cap attendance at 500, seat people in socially distanced pods and check for proof of vaccination or a negative test, that’s all changed. They’ll hold the concerts at full capacity, and the only remaining restriction is that unvaccinated attendees must wear masks.
Gypsy swing ensemble Hot Club of Saratoga opens the series Wednesday, followed by Betsy & the ByeGons on Saturday, June 26.
Leaders at Rivers Casino, which traditionally hosts the Harbor Jam concert series, say they’re hoping to present the series later this summer, should COVID-19 protocols allow.
Beyond concerts, Playhouse Stage Company will present its musical series in Albany at full capacity this summer.
“We couldn’t be more excited about getting back to our longtime summer home at Albany’s Park Playhouse,” Producing Artistic Director Owen Smith said. “As we noted when we announced our summer season, our intention has been to adjust plans based on changes to state regulations, as well as guidance from the New York State Department of Health, the CDC and other important agencies. Now, we are pleased to announce that we will be operating as we have for more than three decades, with paid reserved seating on the ground level and free amphitheater lawn seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. As always, patrons will be able to start placing blankets and chairs in the amphitheater at noon daily.”
The first show, “Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show,” kicks off July 6 and runs through July 24. Then, from Aug. 3-14, Playhouse Stage students will present “Matilda The Musical.” All performances will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
According to organizers, attendees should plan to wear masks when walking around the venue but can remove them when sitting down.
“While we will still have an eye on safety, it will essentially be business as usual for Park Playhouse this summer,” Smith said.
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