UPDATE: Due to popular demand, White Oak announced both Shakey Graves and Major Lazer will both play an additional show. Graves will play on Saturday, October 24, and Major Lazer will play an earlier show starting at 3 pm on Monday, October 26 — before the sold-out concert that evening.
Large-scale concerts in Houston are back.
White Oak Music Hall will host its first outdoor concerts in months, announcing two shows by popular international touring acts. Americana heartthrob, Shakey Graves, will take to the lawn stage on Friday, October 23, while Diplo-led dance act, Major Lazer, performs on Monday, October 26. Tickets go on sale on Friday, October 2 at 10 am on the White Oak website.
The scourge of the pandemic means these shows will look a lot different than the ones you remember fondly from the pre-COVID-19 era. They are being billed as the socially distanced, outdoor "Grid Concert Series." The White Oak lawn will consist of grid-like sections in which up to six concert goers will have their own reserved area or spot on the grid that will be distanced from other spots.
The idea for the shows is similar to concerts recently held in the United Kingdom and Europe. The same concept was utilized in recent Texas shows in Austin, Dallas, and Lubbock. While the White Oak shows won't be anywhere close to capacity, it will be a much welcomed return for live music and will likely sell out quick.
The event adopted the City of Houston's new events recommendations for outdoor public gatherings. Precautions include grids being separated from each other by a minimum of 6-feet in all directions, a reduction of capacity to 25 percent, online and contactless food and beverage ordering delivered by waitstaff, staggered entry, mandatory face coverings and other safety and sanitation measures.
“We are beyond excited to start hosting concerts again, especially with acclaimed artists like Major Lazer and Shakey Graves,” said White Oak Music Hall co-managing partner, Jagi Katial, said in a statement. “The grid experience will be smaller and more intimate in terms of attendance, but we will bring the same level of production fans have come to expect from us. We want to thank the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the City of Houston Health Department for working with us to develop our safety plan, and for their continued support for the events industry."
Grid spaces will be at least 7 feet by 7 feet and cost between $149 and $1500, depending on the performer. Exceptions are Tier 1 spots which are 50 percent larger. Up to six people can share a grid space and the area that will comprise the grid spaces will be 35,000 square feet.
Concert-goers will be able to order drinks for delivery to their section via cards like those found at a sushi bar and restroom access will be limited to maintain social distancing guidelines.
"We've been diligently working on a plan to responsibly host concerts for a long time now," White Oak Music Hall marketing director Mike Mauer tells CultureMap. "It's absolutely thrilling to see all the pieces align and be able to bring such a high caliber of artists to Houston."