Chicago reopens: Live music, theater and art venues may need more time to be up and running after the July 4 target


CHICAGO (WLS) – News that Chicago hopes to fully reopen on July 4 was good news for music and art venues, which have been closed for over a year, but that also may not be possible with all that must be done to get restarted.

It has been almost 14 months since the lights went out in the Wicker Park underground. A virtual fundraiser in support of the city’s independent concert halls is the only time a band is on stage.

“Since March 14 of last year we have been completely shut down. Yes. It has been extremely difficult,” said Robert Gomez, owner of Subterranean and Beat Kitchen.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s announcement that the city aims to fully reopen by July 4 gave Gomez hope, but also a pause. Setting a date is the easy part. Booking artists, raising capital, is another.

“For us it will bring people back,” he said. “Find the manpower to help us prepare, then get going and get started. “

More than 70,000 people were employed in Chicago’s arts and entertainment industry before the pandemic. Many have moved on.

At the Goodman Theater in Chicago, where they are set to launch a series of live streaming performances, they are also working on an in-person comeback for the end of the summer with a show that debuted just before closing. . The scene, as they say, is set.

“It won’t be overnight. It’s not like a magic wand can be waved and suddenly we’re on stage, but we’re very close,” said Robert Falls, artistic director of the Goodman Theater.

Close, but not on July 4th. That’s the resounding message from the Chicago arts scene: they want to get back to work, but maybe they need a little more time.

“Theater has been around for 2,000 years. It’s a pretty solid art form. And while it may be on the decline, it’s not for the account. And there’s no doubt we’ll see. people on this stage and in this audience soon, ”Falls said.

ABC7 has learned that Mayor Lightfoot will be at the Goodman Theater tomorrow for some sort of arts-related announcement, although it’s not yet clear.

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