It was one of the first live concerts held in the Tampa Bay area in months. And it was packed.
On Saturday evening, throngs of fans showed up for an outdoor show at Ybor City social club and music venue the Cuban Club to see rapper Moneybagg Yo perform.
The event was one of the first live concerts held in the area since March, when the coronavirus pandemic caused the widespread shutdown of bars, nightclubs and music venues. The Memphis-born rapper and songwriter Demario White — who goes by the stage name Moneybagg Yo — headlined the sold out show and was joined by several opening acts, some of which were cut short because of the weather.
Photos taken at the event by a Tampa Bay Times photographer show huge crowds packed in the outdoor area, with fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder. Despite signs that mandated the wearing of masks and practice of social distancing, very few people were seen wearing masks or face coverings.
The historic Cuban Club’s large outdoor patio has been the site of many concerts and parties over the years, including WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave. Patrick Manteiga, the president of the Cuban Club Foundation, said in an email that no alcohol was served at Saturday’s event. He also said the patio’s capacity allows for more than 2000 people, but that it was limited to 500 guests and 50 employees that evening.
The city of Tampa requires that face coverings be worn indoors whenever outside the home. There is currently no requirement for face masks when outside, although the Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommends that people wear masks in public settings when social distancing measures — standing at least six feet apart — are difficult to maintain.
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Saturday’s event highlights the difficulties facing live music venues and club owners as they struggle to figure out how to bring back large events safely. The live music industry has been struck particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which has effectively left all venues shuttered for nearly six months.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from the Cuban Club Foundation’s president Patrick Manteiga.