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Music fans say masks will not hinder their rush to see full lineup of shows coming to the Central Coast

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A stream of enthusiastic fans have returned to music venues throughout the Central Coast in the last few weeks.

Along with their tickets will be some COVID requirements that have to be met to get through the doors.

"I think they are great. I think it creates a sense of security for people coming in. I am all for it." said Raul Cano-Rogers with Live Notes, a Santa Barbara-based music site. He was attending the Wallflowers concert at the Lobero Theatre Wednesday night wearing a Jimi Hendrix mask.

David Asbell, Lobero Theatre Executive Director, said the return to indoor concerts has been received with tremendous enthusiasm.

"Overwhelmingly great. I have been on the vaccination checkpoints. To a person, they say 'Thank you for doing this we feel safer coming in by doing this,'" said Asbell.

He says it allows the theatre to bring in many different shows.

For those who are not able to meet the protocol rules, they are getting a refund for their ticket.

Some people have forgotten their vaccination card or their wallet with their photo ID which is required to enter.

Staff members are on the sidewalk, checking guests before they go up the brick steps to the theatre entrance.

Outside no masks are required in the open-air setting where drinks are sold. Inside masks are mandatory and no food or drink is allowed.

With that, guests are wearing their masks throughout the shows, and have to power their cheers through the face coverings.

Erica Brown, was a co-sponsor of the Wallflowers concert with her Dylan Star clothing store. She said, "I am very excited.  I don't care what the protocols are,  I'm ready to go." She was wearing a white mask with blue stars on her way in.

Her husband Brandon said, is check in went smoothly. "I had my vaccination card on my phone.  I had a copy of that and my ID like normal. I think it is fine as long as people feel safe and happy and feel comfortable being in the same thing."

Asbell said because of the procedures more shows can be booked. Not just live bands, but Opera and special events. "We gotta great stuff," he said looking at the calendar with Jan and Dean, Los Lobos and the Immediate Family already booked.

The Lobero has worked it out to process a full house of about 600 people efficiently.

Douglas Heithoff came through the check point saying, "it was very easy to get in, they were ready, prepared. They told us to have masks, get our ID out and vaccine card we were through in about 30 seconds. Fantastic! "

Cano-Rogers was on a mailing list and before the show, "I received an email  saying these would be the guidelines not only here but at the bowl, the Granada the Arlington and Soho ." He goes to several sites weekly.

For those who have been missing the sound of live music it's been a long awaited come back.

"It means so much. It is what makes Santa Barbara so special is the music scene and when it comes back it make it feel like the city is coming alive again," said Heithoff.

Several people at the show were coming back for other events on the calendar or had tickets to upcoming shows at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Asbell says all the artists are getting checked backstage. He also says that the Lobero staff has been vaccinated.

To view the Lobero COVID-19 protocols, click here.

Theaters throughout the Central Coast, whether they are inside only or are outside at an amphitheater or bowl setting, have strict guidelines during the pandemic. Some have strengthened them in the last few weeks and reposted them to their sites.

The Majestic Ventura Theatre, which was dark for months, is reopening tonight with Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real. COVID rules are in place there except where food or drink is being consumed.

The Santa Barbara Bowl has a vaccination or proof of a negative test requirement as well for its shows. The venue seats 4500.

Coronavirus / Entertainment / Health / Lifestyle / Safety / Santa Barbara - South County / Video
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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