A concert venue in northeast Iowa plans to hold an arena-style country music concert this weekend, its first big show in a full calendar year due to COVID-19.
H.R. Cook, general manager of Five Flags Center in Dubuque, says it’ll be the first major event at the facility since “The Price is Right Live!” played to a sold-out audience on March 10th of 2020.
“We believe now is the time to start slowly, to get that train rolling, and to open up our doors to some larger audiences,” Cook says. “Our Lee Brice show this Saturday is still going to be socially distanced. We’re only doing half capacity but that’s still almost 3,000 people.”
Under Dubuque’s mask ordinance, concert-goers are only allowed to lower their face coverings to eat or drink, otherwise, they need to be masked up. Cook says they likely won’t be able to guarantee 100% compliance with a crowd of that size, but they’ll try.
Cook says, “We will have ushers going through the crowd and asking people, ‘Please, put your mask back up,’ and those that we see wear it all the time, we might reward those with a coupon for a beer at the concession stand, or a water or a soda, just to say thank you.”
It’s been a long year of restrictions and inconveniences for many Iowans due to the pandemic, and Cook says country music lovers are clamoring for live performances, even if the concert is still subject to some rules.
“We’ve got over half the counties in Iowa coming to Dubuque this weekend for this show,” Cook says. “It’s an amazing transference of what we had last summer versus now, because as soon as the vaccines were announced, our phones started ringing off the hook, people wanting to come here.”
Cook does anticipate selling out the reduced-capacity venue for the Saturday night show.