EASTON — The Avalon Foundation recently announced the 2021 official opening of its brand new outdoor music venue, The Avalon’s Stoltz Pavilion. Conceived and constructed in 2020 as a means to keep music going amidst pandemic restrictions, the organization is very excited to program the space over the course of an entire spring, summer and fall. “We are going to program predominantly for the outdoors until the world gets back closer to normal,” said Suzy Moore, Artistic Director at The Avalon.
On March 25, the Stoltz Pavilion had a soft opening with a couple of concerts for staffers to reacquaint themselves with a space where they have spent very little time up to this point. From getting patrons seated, to focusing lights, to sending out a professional video stream, all hands were back on deck to remount last year’s initiative. “From October to December last year, we were working in temperatures averaging 37 degrees,” said Scott Milligan, who directs the technical aspects over all of the Avalon venues, “temperatures are going to be great this spring.”
A substantial outdoor landscaping plan is on tap for the Pavilion and will take place over the next couple of weeks. “We wanted to make it prettier and more appealing. It’s great to be one of the first venues in the country to say that concerts are back safely, but it feels even more hopeful to say we are brightening the corners at the Pavilion in 2021,” said Moore.
The Stoltz Pavilion was built from the ground up to ensure that audiences, staff, volunteers, and performers can enjoy live music, while substantially mitigating health risks. But it was also a way to offer musicians a chance to play and make a living again. Putting the hard-hit professional musicians back to work gives audiences a reminder that normal life is on the horizon. While COVID safety measures will stay in place in the immediate future, the Avalon will roll with the changes as the situation continues to evolve.
“Yes we must still be safe. And we will abide by that rule first,” said Jess Bellis, CFO and COO at The Avalon. “Safety has been at the forefront of our minds ever since our industry vanished into thin air and we were left to reinvent ourselves in 2020. Safety was the reason we came up with putting up an outdoor venue when everything else was shutting down. Keith Stoltz and The Stoltz family made it happen.”
The plan is to use the outdoor pavilion safely, and to the max this year. “We encourage those groups that think that they may want to use the space, to contact us at the theatre and we will go over with them what is possible outside at the pavilion,” said Bellis. In the meantime, Moore has booked a lineup of stellar bands from across the spectrum to satisfy those who want to hear live music again. The schedule will continue to grow as long as there are no COVID setbacks to slow the process down.
“We are starting with an entirely clean slate and that is exciting to me,” said Tim Weigand, Marketing Director at The Avalon. “It’s the perfect time to get in on the ground floor with what the Avalon is doing in our community and listen to what superb musical acts and players come through our backyard. Our track record has proven it. I don’t care what music you gravitate towards, if you are a music fan, sign up for our email list, or use social media for some good and follow us there to stay in touch with what we are doing. We are one of the first spaces hosting a full calendar in the USA. Because of the vision of Avalon management and Keith Stoltz, we are back safely much earlier than other venues across the nation.”
Statistics show that more people are going to head out to a concert this year than ever before. Gene Simmons of KISS offers this advice when doing so, “Rock is dead. Not because the talent isn’t there, but because the business model just doesn’t work. And so that leaves live performances. And I really hope once this vaccine takes hold that people go out to the local clubs and see all the new bands and support new bands. Like a baby that’s on the floor, go up there, pick that baby up and coddle it, give it love, because those new bands need your love. It’s not going to affect me. I make a living, but the new bands need the love and attention. Don’t just go see Metallica and Taylor Swift or KISS. On the weekends, go to a place that’s got live music. You need to support the new generation of talented people who are musicians and writers and so on. Don’t let the robots take away everything.’”
If you do, The Avalon promises to provide the exact same excellent customer service, positive vibes and a fantastic list of new music that thousands have come to know, depend on and love as patrons of the Avalon. For those who are more comfortable listening and enjoying music at home, all of the Avalon concerts are streamed in High Def and Hi Fidelity on YouTube and Facebook on The Avalon Theatre pages. Show times are 8 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets to Avalon shows, please visit the organization online at avalonfoundation.org, or call Tim Weigand at 410-253-9629.