John ~ Theater

I think we had the first indoor rock concert in the entire United States during COVID."

“I think we had the first indoor rock concert in the entire United States during COVID. That was September 12 . Native, a local psychedelic rock band, performed live, here at Coligny Theater. Young guys, really, really, really talented young guys who write a lot of their own tunes. We had about 40 people at the concert, masked up and safely seated, in the middle of COVID, which I thought was great as long as everyone was safe. We're very cautious about making sure people are healthy and wearing masks. After that first concert, we've had maybe a half a dozen shows and we're continuing to do shows.


Earlier in the pandemic, of course, we couldn’t do that. One of the things I had dabbled in prior to COVID was live streaming on social media. And I had figured out how to do it fairly well. We have a camera that's specifically built for live streaming and I'm an audio engineer by necessity because of my craft. I was in a touring band for a long time and we made records. So when we decided to do live-streamed performances beginning in March, we were ahead of the game.


We featured about 15 local musicians, giving them their own performances, here at the theater. It was just myself, my business partner Matt Sock, and my wife. My wife did a lot of the social media hyping and, and while the stream was happening, the interaction between us and the viewers. We ended up doing about 15 live streams and we had over 100,000 views. And most importantly, we garnished an average of about $2,000 in income revenue per artist. For one hour of work, which we thought was pretty great. And a lot of the artists needed that financial assist due to the fact that they were unable to perform live shows.


By the end of April, we were in full lockdown mode, so we had to stop. And then luckily, by about Memorial Day, Hilton Head was back open. We've been very fortunate here in Hilton Head that by about Memorial Day, it was business as usual. The entirety of our real hardcore lockdown was only about two and a half months.


The theater was shut down until the first of September. Governor McMaster would have allowed us to open August 1, but anything we do takes advance planning, media hype and promotional time to secure patrons to come out and pay to see an event. So instead of trying to jump back into the movies, which Hollywood's not putting out anyway, we jumped in and did two live performances, including the Native show.


In October, we started showing movies again. A repertory film series with a monthly theme. For October it was horror, for this month it’s Tarantino. Next up, in December, will be holiday-themed movies. We do just one a week.


There's still a large percentage of the people who regularly would attend our events, but are not because they may be more at risk or simply are uncomfortable. And that’s all fine. It’s why we do the live streams, serving up entertainment virtually for those folks that cannot be with us here.” -- John Cranford, Coligny Theatre #SouthCarolina (Photo Credit on 2 bottom photos: Kim Smith)

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