Kip Moore was the headlining act for the first show at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center
CAYCE, S.C. (WOLO) — A new music and entertainment venue in Cayce is set to bring a rocking new sound back to the Midlands.
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering, the events at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center will put a strict emphasis on social distancing and keeping people safe.
The new venue is setting up shop on the grounds of the Columbia Speedway, which hosted NASCAR races from 1951 to 1971.
“It’s the perfect location for what we wanted to do, which is to bring live music back to the Midlands and to Columbia, to bring fans and bands back together face-to-face,” said Daniel Hampel, the Managing Director of the Roberts Group, which helped bring the project to life this year.
Even with COVID-19 cases on the rise, organizers have had to adjust the concert experience to make sure people are staying safe.
For instance, instead of people cramming in front of the stage, the field will be split up into coves that can hold four people, and masks have to be worn if someone leaves their cove.
“That’s what we want, we want to get people back together again, and we want to hear cheers like you used to hear,” said Adam Epstein, the CEO of Innovation Arts and Entertainment.
Organizers have been working on ways to bring people back out to shows since the pandemic began earlier this year. More than 70 million concert tickets were sold back in 2019, but with the pandemic, that number has dwindled to record lows.
The Roberts Group and Innovation Arts and Entertainment tinkered with a drive-thru concert format in the summer, where people could stay in the cars and listen to the audio using their FM transmitters. Later on, they decided on the cove model, which allows people who know each other to be grouped together in a way tat is socially distant.
With a show Thursday night, country singer Kip Moore was the first to have a concert on the newly-crafted stage.
The group plans on having other events out on the field like movie nights, comedy shows, and watch parties for sporting events.
“It’s not a political statement to say that people need to get together, and to do it safely,” Epstein said. “If this is the medium for them to do it, then it’s a victory.”
Organizers will continue planning events throughout the winter and spring, keeping the audience socially distant while giving them a memorable experience.
“Once we get through all this, God willing, in a year or so, this stage and video screens will still be intact, and we can open this up for general admission and have even more people out here,” Hampel said.
For more information on the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center, click here.