St. Louis concert venue Old Rock House wants to usher in the return of live music. Performers like Mvstermind hope to help the venue achieve their goal.
Live shows are back in St. Louis after COVID-19 cancelled performances for the past six months. They will not be quite like they used to be, however.
Old Rock House, in the La Salle Park neighborhood of St. Louis, is back to putting on live shows. Having started this September, Old Rockhouse has concerts planned this Fall from local artists weekly or bi-weekly with new COVID-19 guidelines put into place.
“Old Rock House is pleased to announce that we will begin the process of safely opening our doors for a series of Listening Room style concerts,” Old Rockhouse owner Tim Weber wrote in a press release. “Our plan is to not simply to reopen but our plan is to be a model for how concert and event places can operate safely in the COVID-19 era.”
Capacity is limited to fifty guests per show—only 10% of their usual capacity. In addition to the capacity restriction, Old Rockhouse has taken upon themselves protocols to keep guests safe. Tables will be placed six feet apart, frequent cleaning during shows, a full sanitization after shows and contactless temperature checks before entry. Tickets will be sold in groups, having guests purchase tables instead of singular tickets. They expect guests to wear masks and stay home if not feeling well.
These new protocols will not change the overall experience of concerts according to one of the Old Rock House’s performers.
“[With] the safety precautions, we wanted to make sure to do this right,” Old Rock House performer Mvstermind said.
Mvstermind, a local musician and entrepreneur, has a show at Old Rock House Sept. 25 and is excited about live music coming back to St. Louis.
“This will be my first physical concert since COVID. I did a show back in February with actual real people—as weird as that sounds,” Mvstermind says. “This will be the first time I’m back out in the public, back out exchanging love with people in real life.”
Live shows mean a lot to both the audience and artists because of a certain aspect that music played from your own speakers lacks.
“We make music a lot of the times to heal ourselves,” Mvstermind said. “By taking it to live performances, you’re taking what healed you and sending that love straight out to the audience.”
The plan is to bring back both live music and a sense of connection during the pandemic.
But performing live again is not just about the experience for artists and the audience. “The money and the dollars that we’re bringing, this small amount, is allowing local venues to actually stay afloat. Right now it’s relying on all of the local people . . . this is bringing back the nightlife. It allows for the culture of our city to still stay flourishing,” Mvstermind said.
Mvstermind is excited for the new form of concerts, even though they look a bit different.
“When people feel that intimate vibe,” he said. “It’s going to be that much more poignant because it’s going to be like ‘this is the first show I went to when I thought maybe I would never see live shows again.’ I don’t know exactly how it’s going to be, but I know it’s going to be one of the most memorable. It’s going to be a first.”
With local artists and venues needing support from the community, Old Rockhouse and performers like Mvstermind have a solution. Purchase tickets for tables at Old Rockhouse’s website and read over their COVID-19 protocols to ensure an enriching and safe live music experience this fall.
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Alexandria Darmody (she/they) is the news editor for the Journal, and a senior journalism major and FTVP minor. She enjoys digital art, photography and reading nonfiction stories. In her free time, she makes collages from old magazines and collects stickers to decorate surfaces. She's interested in the business side of journalism, and she's an avid viewer of Succession.