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Travis McCready moves Arkansas concert to May 18 after state revokes alcohol permit: 'Doesn't feel like America'

Concert promoter Mike Brown claimed the state told them to announce that they will move the show and only then would they get back their licenses and could continue doing business
Travis McCready (Getty Images)
Travis McCready (Getty Images)

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has approved Travis McCready's concert in TempleLive, Fort Smith, after the venue's organizers moved the date from May 15 to May 18. The approval came after the state government issued a cease-and-desist order against the concert. The event will be one of the first concerts in the US since the stay-at-home guidelines started for most of the country two months ago.

Hutchinson said in a statement, "The fact that the concert promoter moved the date three days forward to May 18th showed that it is not that hard to abide by the same rules that apply to everyone else." According to Rolling Stone, he added, "They wanted an exception for an indoor concert no one else in Arkansas asked for or was allowed. We are grateful they determined that they should follow the directives and the law and do the right thing for not only the concertgoers, but also for the public in general."

Hutchinson added, "Delighted that on Monday, assuming their health plan can be approved by the Department of Health and proper security measures are taken, the concert can proceed and we can welcome them to the venue. We are pleased to have a resolution and that the concert promoter recognized the need to follow the directives of the Department of Health."

Concert promoter Mike Brown criticized the Arkansas government at a press conference on May 14 for how they handled the concert, noting that, hours earlier, the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board had revoked the venue's alcohol permit. Brown claimed that the document he received from the control board stated that "if we would publicly announce that we will move this show to May 18th, that they would bring our licenses back and let us continue doing business".

"Doesn’t feel like America to me," he said, adding, "It’s disheartening. So due to the actions by the State of Arkansas, by the Arkansas Health Department and the governor’s office, we are applying to move this show to May 18th to be in compliance with the directive from the Arkansas Department of Health and governor’s office. Against our will."

According to Brown, state officials told the venue organizers that the only rule it needed to comply with for the May 18 show was that all attendees wear masks. He added that TempleLive is "in the process of submitting that application and at the point that we have approval from the state, we will make those changes to that show date". He said, "The tickets that you have bought will be good for that show."

Brown did not address whether the McCready concert would need to reduce its audience size in order to move forward. The state directive for re-opening certain indoor venues on May 18 stipulates that audiences be no larger than 50 people, but the venue had previously said it would lower its capacity from 1,100 to 229.