'Overwhelming in the best possible way': Live, in-person concerts return to Waterloo Region
After months of virtual concerts, bands and singers in Waterloo Region are slowly returning to live performances.
Indoor performing arts, including concerts, can resume under Step 3 of Ontario's reopening plan.
Under Step 3, bands are now allowed to play inside with either a half-full venue or 1,000 fans, whichever is less.
For the past 16 months, Dana K and the Remedy have been playing virtual concerts.
"You can't see the people, you don't even sometimes know how many are even watching you. There's no reaction, there's no connection and there's no togetherness," said lead singer Dana Komer.
But this week, they performed for fans face-to-face for the first time in more than a year on the patio at Waterloo's Duke of Wellington.
"Standing at the Duke and looking at this crowd was overwhelming in the best possible way," Komer said.
Sites like Ticketmaster and StubHub are once again filled with options are concerts return t town.
Local guitarist Shawn Kellerman, who has toured nearly 50 countries, is excited to collaborate again.
"I have a few events booked, I'll be part of the Belmont Village series in August," he said.
Most concerts in Waterloo Region will remain outside for the time being.
The doors at the River Run Centre in Guelph are closed until the fall.
"There are some ticket sales for live performances come October," said Danna Evans, the City of Guelph's general manager of culture and recreation.
Evans said that's because their summer schedule is already packed with kids' camps and live recordings, adding concert bookings take time to organize.
"People are camping and cottaging, so we don't normally see a lot of performing and activities this time of year anyway, so we're just moving a little bit cautiously," she said.
But for musicians, the reopening of venue doors is music to their ears.
"Our first inside show is going to be in mid-September and it's going to be at Hacks down in Kitchener," Komer said.