‘It’s just surreal:’ Live music returns to Triangle

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Live music is making its way back to the Triangle. On Thursday, Red Hat Amphitheater is holding its first concert since the pandemic.

It’s the first of their $5 Amped Up music series.

“The emotions are huge. The staff keeps walking around saying, ‘We’re so busy; It’s great,'” said Kerry Painter, director of Raleigh Convention & Performing Arts.

Red Hat Amphitheater is holding its first live concert since the pandemic and with no capacity limits.

“It’s crazy, it’s just surreal,” said Painter.

“It feels real good, especially with the weather you know, so it’s almost like normal, almost,” said Larry Beamon who made the drive from Charlotte.

The kick-off concert features two local groups: Kooley High and the Hot at Nights.

“The opportunity to rock for Raleigh especially where we’re from, it means a lot to us,” said Charlie Smarts, emcee for Kooley High. “It’s been slow. We didn’t do a show all year.”

The $5 Thursday concert series will go for six weeks.

“Our whole goal is to help our Raleigh, North Carolina bands get back on stage,” said Painter.

About a fifth of the tickets for Thursday night’s concert has sold.

Along with this being a holiday weekend — they think future concerts will draw bigger crowds as people find out music’s back and feel more comfortable returning.

“I do find myself thinking every two minutes, I can’t believe this is happening again, I can’t believe we can do it again, so it’s little small moments of gratitude for me,” said Asia Toney.

“We’re just trying to make that feel okay for people who might not be sure,” said Painter.

They’re encouraging social distancing, masks and sanitizing.

“Everything opening has been happening so quick, so we’re kind of feeling it out. I know some of the restrictions changed after we booked this show,” said DJ Ill Digitz with Kooley High. “To be one of the acts that kind of opens Raleigh back up to music is crazy, it’s just like, they picked us let’s do it.”

Attendees can sit in GA chairs, on the lawn or book a private table for their group. They’ve installed touchless ordering and security screening to have distancing.

“For me it’s perfect, I like space. I never liked people right on top of me and I don’t like to be right on top of others, I think it’s a great set up,” David Escobar said.

“It’s a whole beautiful, upgraded experience,” said Painter.

Musicians are booking fast at Red Hat, Coastal Credit Union Music Park and other venues through October.

“All the artists are really pent up,” said Penter. “This is what they do right, they want to be in front of people, so there are a lot of variety of concerts and we love that.”

For the full calendar at Red Hat, go here.

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