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The Lot, downtown's pop-up pandemic concert venue, will return in 2021

The Lot, downtown's pop-up pandemic concert venue, will return in 2021

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The Kay Brothers, the Burney Sisters at the Lot

The Kay Brothers perform at the Lot in St. Louis on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. The Lot, a pop-up venue by Jamo Presents near Busch Stadium, features pods to maintain social distancing during the pandemic. Photo by Jon Gitchoff

The Lot, a pop-up concert venue downtown that presented 28 pandemic concerts — many of them sellouts — over the past seven weeks, has wrapped up its season. But organizers say the Lot will return in 2021.

“We plan on doing this again in the spring,” says Drew Jameson of Jamo Presents.

The Lot’s outdoor shows were presented on a parking lot at 714 Cerre Street, near Busch Stadium. Concertgoers watched the concerts from assigned 9-by-9-foot turf spaces (or “pods”) that hold up to four people.

Numerous COVID-19 prevention measures were in effect, including masks, temperature checks and social distancing.

Acts that performed included Andy Frasco & the U.N., Neal Francis, Old Salt Union, Dr. Zhivegas, the Kay Brothers & the Burney Sisters, Jake’s Leg, the Mighty Pines, Dave Grelle, Aaron Kamm and the One Drops, the Disco Techs, the Funky Butt Brass Band, Ms. Hi-C and Fresh Start, Little Dylan Band, Dia de los Muertos with Javier Mendoza (aka Hobo Cane), Mvstermind and Tonina. There were also several shows by Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players.

Mvstermind at the Lot

Mvstermind performs Oct. 31 at the Lot, a pop-up concert venue downtown.

Sean Canan's Voodoo Tom Petty

Sean Canan's Voodoo Tom Petty at the Lot Oct. 15

The Lot’s spring return suggests traditional concertgoing will not have resumed by then.

“We’re not comfortable in us going back to normal in the spring,” Jameson says. “Coming back will take some time. I don’t see myself doing traditional clubs at 100% capacity (by then). We owe it to our customers and supporters to find solutions in the (meantime).”

When the venue returns, it won’t necessarily be in the same location. That depends on the Cardinals’ schedule, since the parking lot is used by ballpark patrons.

Other potential locations have presented themselves, so Jameson doesn’t expect problems with finding a new home, if needed. It is a pop-up venue, after all.

The end of the Lot’s season coincides with other venues and presenters deciding whether to move shows indoors — where patrons may not be ready to venture — or go on hiatus.

The Open Air Concert Series, which presents shows under heated tents at the Grandel, continues through November. Jameson looked into that option to extend the Lot’s season, but it was too expensive.

When the Lot does return, he hopes to partner with a food vendor.

The Lot kicked off Sept. 18 with Todd Sheaffer (Railroad Earth), Chris Thompson (Coral Creek) and Allie Kral (Yonder Mountain String Band), followed Sept. 19 by the Disco Techs with Mark Lewis/Nightchaser. The final show was Nov. 1 with Mendoza.

Looking back, Jameson says he was satisfied with the first season.

“People were stir-crazy to get out,” he says. “With the pandemic and cancellations, it felt good to see people out smiling and enjoying themselves. I think St. Louis needed it. It was a pleasure working with the city officials throughout this process. The stars were perfectly aligned.”

The Kay Brothers, the Burney Sisters at the Lot

The Kay Brothers perform at the Lot in St. Louis on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. The Lot, a pop-up venue by Jamo Presents near Busch Stadium, features pods to maintain social distancing during the pandemic. Photo by Jon Gitchoff

He also says concertgoers were pleased. “Everyone felt safe, and every time a suggestion came up, we took their feedback and made small adjustments in the beginning. After the first weekend, we were cruising.”

On average, shows were 75% sold. Jameson says the safety factor played a big role in attracting concertgoers.

“The learning curve and the safety we provided was marketing all on its own,” he says. “People knew the deal when they got there.”

Patrons mostly respected the safety measures that were in place, he says. “Ninety percent of the time, we didn’t have to enforce the rules. People wanted to follow the rules.”

Performers donated a portion of ticket sales to charity, raising over $5,000.

“Entertainment is soothing for the soul — something we need,” Jameson says.

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