Arkansas is the first state to host a live socially-distanced concert in TempleLive that will feature singer-guitarist Travis McCready. The former member of Bishop Gunn, a Southern rock band is scheduled to perform on May 15, 2020, at 8 pm (9 pm ET) with an acoustic set. However, the Arkansas state officials are not approving the event to go on saying it violates their directives.

The upcoming concert caught national attention due to the conflict between state health officials and TempleLive headed by Lance Beaty, owner of Beaty Capital Group which owns and manages the live music venue. 

On May 12 Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that a cease and desist order would be issued to TempleLive in downtown Fort Smith to stop the concert on May 15. The Governor said the concert is three days ahead of the allowed opening on May 18 of large indoor venues, and no specific plans to address health and necessary safety concerns have been done yet. He made the pronouncement during the daily COVID-19 briefing. He stressed that allowing the live event to proceed will send a wrong message to other business owners that they can decide on their own and not follow state guidelines and rules.

Beaty was disappointed with the development saying the discussion from science and health concerns turned into a "politics and power issue." 

John Scott, a lawyer from Connor and Winters representing TempleLive sent an email to Terry Paul of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) on May 11 stating that TempleLive was coordinating health and safety protocols with ADH. It detailed plans such as 80% reduced seating capacity from 1,100 to 229 seats, pre- and post-show disinfection, temperature checking upon entry, fan "pods" or groups must be separated by six feet during the event's duration, masks are to be worn at all times by fans and staff, high "touchpoints" will be continuously wiped and as per U.S. CDC guidelines, one-way walkways will be established. The major reason for the dispute is with regard to the date.

Even with the impending order, TempleLive officials say it will proceed with the concert as reported by KATV. "TL remains committed to conducting a safe event," Scott noted and hoped that it will "shine light on an important aspect of art, performance, and enjoyment" of the public. He emphasized that TL is not out to "disrespect the Governor, ADH, or the public safety" of the citizens.

The Secretary of ADH, Dr. Nate Smith, was interviewed on Tuesday, May 12, and was asked on his insight about TempleLive's request for a three-day exemption to be considered. Dr. Smith replied that he agrees with the state guidelines and said that the venue is available next week as well as the performers. He said, "why push to have this done before it is legal?" He found no good reason to allow the social distancing concert to be held ahead of the mandated May 18 reopening date. 

It remains to be seen what will happen on May 15 but it will surely serve as a watch-and-learn situation that can change the landscape of future concerts.