SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the Lobero Theatre has lost more than a million dollars in revenue.
For artists and venues alike, this has been a very difficult burden.
"It's just instantly put a freeze and put so many venues and musicians in just a really untenable position,” Live from the Lobero producer and director Byl Carruthers said.
"It was like falling off a cliff, it stopped March 12th and was gone with nothing,” Lobero Theatre Foundation Executive Director David Asbell said. “We thought we were doing great."
With the 147-year-old theater’s future uncertain, Carruthers approached the Lobero about doing live, inexpensive pay-per-view concerts which support the artists and the venue and provide live entertainment for the fans.
On Sunday night, the Kenny Loggins 'unplugged' live stream event will kickoff the concert series.
“Certainly to me, the Lobero Theatre is Santa Barbara’s heart and soul theater,” Loggins said. “I wanted to be a part of making sure it stays here another 140 years."
In order to pull off a contactless performance, a forensically small crew was assembled.
In addition to PPE, temperature, and symptom checks while entering the building, all crew members will bring their own food and remain in their specific space for the entire production. Some of the technicians perform their tasks from individual rooms. Others never come within 15 feet of the artists.
"We devised our protocol to be as safe as possible with minimal contact,” Carruthers said.
This safety-centric production model hopes to set the standard for live performances throughout the new normal.
"Ideally, we're going to keep live streaming the shows even when there is a small audience on it's way back to full capacity,” Carruthers said.
This concert marks the first time that Loggins will ever perform without a live audience.
"That's the only part I'm nervous about when I think about it,” Loggins said. “If you've ever been at a party where you make a joke and nobody laughs, that's what it might feel like."
Nevertheless, this could also create a special connection between viewers and the Grammy Award winning artist.
"It's really going to capture the intimacy of Kenny doing all that work,” Asbell said. “You can see it up close, it's going to be wonderful."
"This is an opportunity to create an intimate environment and show that my audience has never seen,” Loggins concluded. “Hopefully I think it'll be a unique experience.”
Tickets are $15 and the proceeds benefit The Lobero Theatre and NIVA (The National Independent Venue Association). For more information visit Lobero.org.