It's bad news and good news for Dr Pepper Park at the Bridges. The Roanoke outdoor venue had to forgo spring performances from Sebastian Bach, Jamey Johnson and others due to the pandemic encroachment.
Dr Pepper Park's president, Waynette Anderson, wound up brainstorming a helpful substitute she is calling Rock to the Rescue. Her venue is teaming with Blue Ridge PBS for eight performances, with no audience. The idea is to benefit downtown Roanoke businesses and their employees, who are experiencing what looks like a long slowdown, even stoppage, in the midst of COVID-19.
They are following Center for Disease Control guidelines, which means no public gatherings of more than 10 people on site while these concerts are prerecorded, according to a news release from the venue.
The shows begin March 25 with replay nightly at 7 p.m. until the next show. This will give all audiences the opportunity to view at Blue Ridge PBS's Youtube site, Blue Ridge Streaming.
All shows are free, but the organizations are encouraging donations at Dr Pepper Park's website, clicking "Rock to the Rescue." According to the news release, 75 percent of donations will go to downtown businesses, with the rest retained to cover performance and marketing costs.
“We have a responsibility to rally for our hometown businesses that are vital to Roanoke," Anderson said in the news release. "We also wanted to provide a series that would give everyone something to look forward to each week!
"Over the years, Dr Pepper Park has received tremendous support from so many around the Roanoke Valley, and now we want to give back.”
The venue's ticket vendor, eTix, has agreed to waive its fee on donations.
Downtown Roanoke Inc. was instrumental in supporting the event series, according to the release. DRI emailed downtown businesses to let them know what's up.
Filming begins Saturday at Dr Pepper Park. It is a closed set. Stand by for the list of performers. UPDATE 7:30 p.m. March 20: A PBS crew will film The OddFellows, Hardrive Crew, Five Dollar Shake and Radio Rehab on Saturday, for the first four shows. Anderson said the next filming session is to be determined.