Floating Cinemas, Concerts and More Encouraging Signs

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Boat shows, both stateside and worldwide has been forced to cancel—that list, as of last week now includes both Cannes and Annapolis—leaving coming shows in Ft. Lauderdale and Ft. Myers still alive, albeit “on the clock” to borrow an NFL draft day slogan.

But a unique concert study could have positive implications for our critical winter schedule of boat shows beginning next January.

German scientists have opted to conduct a study in a concert venue. These venues were among the first places to shut down back in March when the Covid-19 pandemic slammed the U.S. and Europe, and there’s fear they could be among the last to reopen.

So, according to New York Times reports, scientists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg recently invited 1,400 volunteers to a concert by popular German singer Tim Bendzko, who played with a full band including back-up singers to a special cordoned-off section at Leipzig’s Quarterback Immobilien Arena.

The objective: to determine the spread of the coronavirus during indoor events with a hope the results could help the global live music industry come back to life.

To reduce transmission risks during the experiment, each attendee was tested for coronavirus beforehand, had their temperature checked on arrival, and all wore masks throughout. They were also provided with fluorescent hand disinfectant that allowed researchers to readily identify high-touch surfaces.

Three different scenarios were then simulated over ten hours:
•no social distancing;
• moderate measures in place
• complete social distancing.

Volunteers were also asked to simulate trips to the bathroom and to food and drink vendors during breaks between each of Bendzko’s performances.

The trackers allowed the scientists to identify patterns in how often attendees came close to each other. Moreover, ultraviolet lamps were used to pinpoint the most-likely-to-be-contaminated surfaces.

While the results are not yet in, the team, led by Stefan Moritz of the university’s infectious diseases department, told the New York Times they hope the study could be used to draw up distancing and hygiene guidelines for live music venues and promoters around the world.

For music fans becoming increasingly disillusioned with today’s digital live-stream culture and longing for a return to the experience of in-person concerts, this study could be very good news.

I suggest we can emphatically say the same for boaters, anglers and our popular boat shows!

More Notable Events

Perhaps what happens in Paris won’t stay in Paris! Or, for that matter, what’s happening in Spain or Prague or Germany or Chicago or St. Petersburg, may also be indicators of a growing trend toward loosening restrictions and implementing tested good practices in our boat shows going into 2021. Here are a few examples to think about:

In the capital of France, roadways on the banks of the river Seine were recently closed and covered in sand and palm trees, transforming the area into the long-standing summer event called Paris Plages (beaches). It’s an annual urban celebration that takes over the riverbanks and the extensive adjacent lawns that are usually used for trade fairs and jazz festivals.

Among the events at this year’s Paris Plages, the adjacent Bassin de la Villette became the site of a first-ever floating movie night. Essentially, a fleet of thirty-eight small electric boats, usually found zipping around the river with tourists, instead provided innovative seating for 150 lucky ticket winners experiencing a unique movie night in the river. What did they see? Gilles Lellouche’s 2018 comedy Le Grand Bain.

As Spain exits lockdown, last week Madrid’s world-class Teatro Real opened its doors for the first time since shuttering four months ago. The first performance back was Verdi’s La Traviata. Social distancing on stage was achieved by tape floor markings of 6 and-a-half foot square boxes, longer intermissions for fast cleaning and disinfecting, and 50 percent audience capacity carefully managed.

Coming out of lockdown, some 2,000 residents of Praque, wined and dined on the city’s iconic Charles Bridge, a medieval 14th-century stone structure that, based on various legends, promises good luck. The residents held a feast as a symbolic farewell to Covid-19’s restrictions. According to the organizers, the Praguers sat around a 1,700-foot-long table toasting the end of the crisis while sharing food, drink and jigging to live folk music.

Daily reported Covid-19 cases have fallen across the Czech Republic in recent weeks. Accordingly, restaurants and bars have been open for more than a month and indoor gatherings of up to 1,000 people have been permitted. “We’re reclaiming out city,” cheered the Praguers.

Meanwhile, according to the Chicago Sun Times, there’s a plan to launch of a “floating cinema” for residents of the Windy City to watch movies from boats, perhaps copying the Paris event. The idea includes a waterfront screen viewed by attendees in boats holding up to eight people. In a July 20 announcement covered by all local Chicago media, the cinematic event was slated for Sept. 9-13. However, there is now growing doubt it will actually come off.

Finally, there’s no doubt a planned live music event in St. Petersburg will be happening, a repeat of a similar musical happening in May. Area boaters will be able to view and listen to a four-hour concert dubbed the “Man & The Guitar World Tour.” The concert is slated for a well-protected cove off Tampa Bay and is accessible only by boat, kayak, paddleboard or raft (rafting up is prohibited). I know one boat will be there – mine! 

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