Beloved Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen has announced a pair of shows at one of the Lone Star State’s best-known venues. On June 12th and 13th, Keen will perform at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, marking one of the first indoor concerts since the COVID-19 pandemic forced stay-at-home orders.
According to Paradigm, Keen’s booking agency, these shows will implement social distancing measures. On a normal night, Gruene Hall is set up for 800 general admission guests, standing only. Keen’s shows will cap the number of guests at 138, seated at 23 tables of six. Ticket buyers must purchase a full table so that they will be seated only with their party, and all tables will be six feet apart. Capacity may be expanded to include additional tables in the outdoor beer garden, which can see the stage and hear audio. Walk-up bar service will be closed, and table service will be provided instead. Tickets will go on sale next week via Gruene Hall’s website, though no pricing information is available.
“Gruene Hall is my rejuvenating, hot springs, fountain of youth,” Keen says. “Gruene is the catalyst for thirty three years of marriage to my beautiful bride, my first band and every other band after, and frankly, my longevity in the music biz. The good people at Gruene rescued me from my nadir in 1987. It makes perfect sense that Gruene Hall is stepping up and giving us a chance, after three months of uncertainty, to do what we do best — play live music!”
Keen’s pair of shows follows other recent efforts to address the return of live music as cities and states slowly phase in the reopening of businesses. Bishop Gunn singer Travis McCready was first out of the gate, performing at a small theater in Fort Smith, Arkansas, after a series of hitches that involved the state’s governor. Additionally, numerous artists have been scheduling shows at drive-in theaters and parking lots as a way to give performances for fans in their cars, including Keith Urban, Eli Young Band, and Alan Jackson.