On Stage: Venues cautiously move to indoor shows as weather gets colder

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

The Queen

COVID-19 has almost completely erased the live music scene in the area for eight months as venues have been prohibited from holding indoor shows by government mandate.

Fortunately, there has been a thread of a lifeline to live music locally in late summer and early autumn. Restaurants, wineries, theaters and clubs have been hosting low-key – frequently acoustic – shows in outdoor, socially distanced settings.

Venues such as People’s Light in Malvern, Kennett Brewing Company, Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford, The Bordley House in West Chester, Cedar Hollow Inn in Malvern and the Candlelight Dinner Theatre in Arden, Delaware are a few of the locations that have kept live music alive.

Two music venues that have been around for quite a while are now moving into a phase where they are presenting live shows in an indoor setting – The Queen/Knights Bar in Wilmington and the Sellersville Theatre.

The Queen (500 Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, thequeenwilmington.com) has new owners. Formerly a part of Live Nation, the venue is now owned by the Delaware-based Buccini/Pollin Group.

The main men in the current rebirth of the Queen are general manager Sam Blumin and booking agent Noah Padawer-Curry. They recently opened Knights Bar, which is a corner bar and terrace at The Queen.

The Buccini/Pollin Group is working with Live Nation — Buccini/Pollin Group using its local ties to increase collaborations with area musicians and Live Nation focusing on bringing world-class entertainment to the venue. The Crown Stage upstairs should be opening soon, and renovations are underway to increase the capacity of the Main Stage downstairs.

The team’s goal is to provide incentive for local music fans to start going out again – in a safe manner – and to integrate with local culture and make Wilmington a place where young musicians can flourish.

Haha Charade

Shows scheduled for this weekend are Haha Charade on October 29, Aziza Nailah on October 30, and LADYY October 31.

The list of concerts scheduled for November includes Sean Sinatra on November 5, Best Kept Soul on November 6, Mz Yola on November 12, and Jawn of the Dead on November 25.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) posted this message:

“WE ARE OPEN! Sellersville Theater is currently able to present live music and comedy at 20% occupancy and is selling tickets to live performances with ticketed livestreams as well. We are proceeding with optimism and caution.

WE TAKE SAFETY SERIOUSLY! Our safety practices are featured in the video above and posted here. Seating during a show will be in every other row, with our innovative and impressive Health Department-approved plexiglass dividers between ticket purchaser groups in each row. There are also five socially distanced cabaret tables, which must be purchased by the table. Masks are to be worn when inside the venue.”

The venue’s website spelled out the regulations for a successful reopening –

What we ask of our patrons:

While in the lobby, auditorium and restrooms, we ask that you have your mask covering your mouth and nose at all times. We have masks on hand if you should need one.

Please wear your mask while seated.

If you purchase a beverage or snack in the theater lobby, you may pull your mask down to consume it. Please replace your mask when finished.

Please maintain a safe distance from other patrons at all times while moving about in our lobby, bathrooms and auditorium.

What we ask of the artist:

Band and crew will check their temperatures and answer a Covid questionnaire upon arrival.

Band and crew will wear masks when they are not on stage.

Band and crew will maintain a safe distance from staff and patrons.

What we are doing:

Staff will check their temperatures and answer a Covid questionnaire upon arrival.

Staff will wear face masks at all times.

Staff will wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer in between hand washing.

High touch areas are frequently disinfected.

Auditorium, lobby, bathrooms and green room are all sprayed with a disinfectant before and after each show.

Patrons will be be seated in every other row and Lexan plexiglass dividers will separate groups of ticket holders sitting in the same row.

Some cabaret tables have been removed from the seating chart.

Joe Conklin

Upcoming live shows this month are Joe Conklin with Mike Eagan and Vince Valentine on November 14, British musician Glen Burtnik on November 21, Live at the Fillmore on November 25, and Gary Ho Ho Hoey on November 27.

December’s schedule features KICK on December 3, Loudon Wainwright III on December 4, Greg Sover Band on December 5, Kurtis Conner on December 13, Paula Poundstone on December 17, and KT Tunstall on December 22.

January’s slate includes Cherry Poppin’ Daddies on January 8, The 5th Dimension on January 17, Antsy McClain & The Trailer Park Troubadours on January 22, Todd Barry on January 29 and Steep Canyon Rangers on January 30.

Soundbooth Sessions, the Sellersville Theater’s livestream series, features a concert and conversation with some of its favorite artists. The livestreams take place on Facebook Live and can also be accessed by the venue’s homepage on the night of the show. Patrons can support both Sellersville Theater and the artist by contributing during the show. Details will be offered during the performance

Upcoming livestream events are Groove Merchants on October 30, Arthur Thomas and Funkitorium on October 31, John Flynn on November 6, Ndichu on November 7, and Stella Ruze on November 13.

Finding a live comedy show by a national act performed locally is relatively easy thanks to the different series presented each weekend by Punch Line Philly (33 East Laurel Street, Philadelphia, www.punchlinephilly.com). The venue has several different stages with shows running concurrently.

This weekend’s schedule features Reggie Conquest on October 28, Chris Porter on October 28, 29 and 30, Really Funny Comedians (Who Happen to Be Women) on October 29, Erik Terrell & Friends on October 30, Jay Simpson & Friends Present Mischievous Minds on October 30, and Philly All-Pro Spooktacular Showcase on October 31.

There is also a variety of live music on tap at local venues.

Cedar Hollow Inn Restaurant and Bar (2455 Yellow Springs Road, Malvern, www.cedarhollowinn.com) will present Jerry Watkins on October 29, Sam Seider on November 5, Chris Lebresco on November 12, Sunshine Jones on November 14, Kendal Conrad on November 19, Nicki Sbaffoni on November 20 and Matt Sevier on November 21.

Hanna Paige

Penns Woods Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, www.pennswoodswinery.com) will present Hanna Paige on October 31.

Brickside Grille (540 Wellington Square, Exton, bricksidegrille.com) is hosting Taylor Rhoads on October 31, Chris Lebresco on November 1, Madeline Rumpf on November 7, Mike McVey on November 8, Paul & Dave on November 14, Bob Starner on November 15, Madeline Knight on November 21, Michael Kropp on November 22, Nicole Zell on November 28 and Steve Rhodes on November 29.

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