DSM Forward Live Entertainment in DSM
The Greater Des Moines Partnership DSM Forward webinar series offers insight on moving the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region forward in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As plans are made and businesses reopen, The Partnership has put together resources for employers at DSMpartnership.com/DSMForward.
Jeff Chelesvig, president and CEO of Des Moines Performing Arts (DMPA), and Chris Connolly, general manager at the Iowa Events Center (IEC), discuss live entertainment in DSM with Mike Colwell, executive director of entrepreneurial initiatives at The Partnership. The “DSM Forward: Live Entertainment” webinar focuses on what’s happening now with live entertainment venues, as well as plans for moving forward post-pandemic.
Shut down since March 13, 2020, the IEC is just now beginning to get back to business and is in the middle of creating a playbook for reopening. The IEC will hold its first event back in the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center this weekend, a dance competition taking place June 19-21. The dance competition is able to hold the event partly due to the availability of the entire building from canceled events, as well as virtual aspects that will help apply physical distancing. The IEC expects to open up their offices to staff in mid-July.
The DMPA venues have remained closed since March 16. Events are being rescheduled and canceled due to the inability to effectively follow physical distancing guidelines within the theaters. The ticket office is exceptionally busy due to refunds of ticket sales for canceled shows. Many DMPA staff are currently working from home and returning to work isn’t a present concern.
Connolly says that the sold-out Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour that was to stop in DSM will be rescheduled. The issue for the IEC becomes working around other stops on the tour and negotiating dates, as well as the difficulty of physical distancing. For the Elton John concert, with 13,000 tickets sold, the venue has no way of enforcing the social distancing guidelines and paying an artist guarantee, so rescheduling is the best thing. Michael Buble has already rescheduled for February 21, 2021. With Professional Bull Riding (PBR), the hope is to split ticket sales between multiple days to make the event dates work. With Iowa Wild and the Iowa Wolves, Connolly says they are watching what the NHL and NBA are doing and are hopeful that the full seasons will take place. He says he anticipates the starts to each season may be delayed.
Chelesvig talks about how artists tour now, not for album sales, but as a source of revenue. Without full capacity, the general consensus for venues such as the Civic Center of Des Moines is that at only 20-30% capacity, the financials don’t make sense. He foresees trying to do more events at Cowles Commons and the Temple Theater. Instructors are also currently holding virtual camps for children in the DSM community who would normally attend summer camps at their physical locations.
See the entire webinar below:
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