Issue: August 05, 2021

A note from Jason

The bands are in the bars, the community theaters have announced their season schedules, and perhaps most significantly, live events will soon return to Chico State’s Laxson Auditorium. After a year-and-a-half of COVID-19 restrictions, the arts—including live in-person performances—are back.

The pandemic has been brutal to the scene, especially performance venues, and many having been shuttered for at least a year. Some couldn’t weather coronavirus shutdowns, and in Butte County, the casualties have included downtown’s longstanding Blue Room Theatre and the south Chico cultural hub Blackbird.

As state restrictions gradually rolled back during spring, and relief grant monies rolled in, Butte County venues started to slowly come back to life. Now, more than a month after California has fully reopened, most have either started back up or have shows planned in the coming months. Notable exceptions include the Sierra Nevada Big Room (which currently has no shows or plans for live events in the works), Feather Falls Casino (nothing on the calendar yet) and the Pageant Theatre (which won’t reopen until air filtration and American Disabilities Act upgrades are completed).

Of those hosting live public events, most places have simply met the state’s mandate of asking unvaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors. At Chico State, however—for the events produced at Laxson Auditorium by both the North State Symphony and Chico Performances—only those who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to attend.

The August print edition of the CN&R (out Thursday, Aug. 5) is the culmination of a four-month Bring Back the Arts campaign, an interview series with artists and leaders of Butte County arts and music venues discussing their efforts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. (Pick up the issue to get the scoop on the new Chico Performances season!)

Take care out there,
Jason Cassidy
CN&R interim editor