Bay Area / SF Venues (and protocol enforcement)

I’ve started going back to indoor shows. Generally the first question asked when I tell someone that I went to an indoor venue, is some version of ‘What are their COVID protocols? / How are they enforcing their protocols?’ Sometimes people also ask about how crowded. You can (and I encourage you to) look up each venue’s protocols before you attend a show. Protocols can change and my recommendation is that you look before you go and that you contact the venue if you have any questions.

Here is my experience to date. In a few cases which I will note, it’s a friend’s experience and I believe it to be reliable. With regards to crowds, some of the shows I’ve attended were fairly crowded (not compared to the before times, but there’s no 6 feet between you and the person next to you). Sample sizes are still low and I will update this as I have new experiences. Another point to mention, I don’t usually move around the venue and I am vertically-challenged, so if I say that people were or were not masked, that is in my vicinity (usually right in front of the stage) and may not be representative of the entire club. Using probability and statistics, I’d say it is; you can draw your own conclusions.

The Independent

I went to two shows at the Independent; the same band both nights (The Brothers Comatose, Aug 2021). The venue checked vaccination cards (and / or recent test results?) and checked against your ID. Masks were required for entry. There was zero enforcement of masking once you entered the premises. It was stuffy and warm and there was little airflow in the venue.

My experience was that masking was entirely dependent on the crowd. The first night, most of the crowd in the front was masked, though there was no enforcement of masking so it was entirely your choice. The second night, almost no one in the crowd was masked.

The Chapel

I went to one show at The Chapel (Mipso, Sept 2021). The venue checked vaccination cards (and / or recent test results?) and checked against your ID. Masks were required for entry. There was strict enforcement of masking the entire evening. There was good airflow.

The Great American Music Hall (GAMH)

I attended one show at GAMH (The Felice Brothers, Oct 2021). The venue checked vaccination card and checked against your ID. Their website says entry only with vax / not accepting negative tests. Masks were required for entry. There was some enforcement of masking early in the evening and most people were masked, but the guy next to me literally NEVER put his mask on the entire night. He was holding a beer the entire time as well. It was stuffy and warm and there was little airflow in the venue; even the performer mentioned it while on stage.

The Fillmore

Friend’s data (Glen Hansard, Sept 2021). The venue checked vaccination cards (and / or recent test results?) and checked against your ID. Masks were required for entry. There was strict enforcement of masking the entire evening. There was good airflow.

Felton Music Hall

I attended one show at the Felton Music Hall (Shovels & Rope, Sept 2021). The venue checked vaccination cards, but not against ID. Masks were required for entry. I saw no enforcement of masking and about 1/2 – 2/3rd of the crowd seemed to be masked. Both of these things surprised me because Felton Music Hall actually had an outbreak linked to a show at their venue prior to this show. Airflow depended on where you were, but it seemed good for the most part.

The Fox

I attended one show at the Fox (The Wood Brothers, Oct 2021). The venue checked vaccination cards, against IDs. Masks were required for entry. I saw no enforcement of masking and about 1/2 – 2/3rd of the crowd seemed to be masked. This was probably the largest show I attended (number in attendance) and I personally felt safe. Air flow is always good at the Fox (at least down on the floor; I’m always in GA).

UC Theatre

Friend’s data (Grateful Shred). I am assuming they checked vaccination cards and masks were required for entry. There was no enforcement of masking, few people wearing masks and it was hot with little airflow.

Freight & Salvage

Friend’s data (Box Set, Oct 2021). Locked down tight. You could drink water in the lobby, but no bar, and nothing in the music room. All masks, all the time.

Starline Social Club

I attended one show at Starline Social Club (The Brothers Comatose, Oct 2021). The venue checked vaccination cards, against IDs. Masks were NOT required for entry. I saw no enforcement of masking and more of the crowd was unmasked than masked to my eye. There was really good airflow (at least where I was standing).

I have been to outdoor venues (primarily the Hopmonk in Novato and in Twin Oaks and a few backyard shows), but am not including information here as they are outdoor and outside of the scope of this blog post. I will continue to update this as I attend more indoor shows and as I hear from friends, so feel free to share your experiences.

I hope you find this helpful and it helps you in your future concert-going decisions.

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