The Anthem Go Outside Festival’s 2020 pivot toward socially-distanced, smaller scale events includes two concerts on Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 17 at Maher Field (River’s Edge) in downtown Roanoke. Andy Frasco & The U.N., who performed at GO Fest in 2019 and has been an internet sensation with streaming concerts during COVID-19, will headline the double-feature.
Proceeds from these ticketed concerts will benefit Project Outside, with a goal of raising $100,000 for the Roanoke Region’s outdoor assets, maintenance and small businesses.
Maher Field on Reserve Avenue provides ample space for the concerts and ability to maintain a strict social distancing policy for attendees on event grounds. All ticket holders will be required to wear masks and remain six feet apart until they are ushered to their reserved box for the show. Instead of buying individual tickets, quarateam and household members will purchase a 12×12 area (or party pod) for up to six people. Using apps and volunteer runners, food and canned beer will be delivered to each party pod so that the only time attendees to move outside of their designated area is to use the restroom.
Additional safety measures include no contact temperature screening cameras upon entry, online pre-screening prior to arrival, contact tracing data and backpack sprayers that will allow for frequent porta potty sanitizing.
“Live shows are vital to our culture and industry, if we want to keep them going in 2020 then we have to set the bar high for health standards,” said Kait Pedigo, Special Events Supervisor for Roanoke Parks and Recreation. “That’s why we’re working with the Virginia Department of Health at every stage in planning to be sure we’re exceeding all guidelines — these concerts are going to set the gold standard for live events.”
Andy Frasco & The U.N. is an American blues rock band that’s been wowing live audiences since 2007. Their third full-length album, Change of Pace, is available now. The group – comprised of Andy Frasco (vocals, keys), Ernie Chang (saxophone), Shawn Eckels (guitar, vocals), and a rotating cast in the U.N. – have performed at festivals alongside icons such as Peter Frampton, Gary Clark Jr., The Revivalists, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dog, Joe Walsh, and Kendrick Lamar. Frasco is also known for his podcast, Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast.
“I’d love for people to connect to the songs in addition to the live show,” Frasco said. “I’m a philosopher and a musician at the end of the day. I want to emulate those aspects in my work. I’m also just a guy trying to find happiness like everyone else is. It’s about being okay with the lows, not getting too high with the highs, and being comfortable in your own skin.”
Taking the stage ahead of the main event will be popular regional acts Empty Bottles on Friday night, and Lazy Man Dub Band on Saturday night. Gates will open at 5 p.m. both nights with ticket holders assigned an arrival time so that COVID screening and socially-distanced check-in can be accommodated. Regional acts will take the stage at 6:15 and Andy Frasco & The U.N. will be on stage from 8-10 p.m.
“Andy Frasco has been lifting people’s spirits throughout the pandemic with his hilarious online performances, so we knew he would entertain a distanced crowd more than just a typical band,” said Julia Boas, Events Director of the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “We really want to focus though on the fact that this event is a fundraiser. We need everyone who uses our outdoor assets to contribute right now, and this is a fun and easy way to get involved.”
There will only be 100 party pods available each night, making space extremely limited. The ticketing portal will go live on Monday, Sept. 14 at noon. Prices range from $150 ($25/person) to VIP and donor boxes in the $600-$750 ($100-$125/person). Higher end boxes will include specialty swag such as a $350 Otterbox cooler to keep, three beers per person, and branded Hydro Flask can coolers. Visit www.roanokegofest.com/benefit-concert/ for details.
Project Outside is a community fund created by businesses, governments, and individuals to support outdoor capital improvement projects, maintain key outdoor assets, and help launch and support businesses in the outdoor sector. Project Outside is managed by the Roanoke Outside Foundation. Corporate supporters are leading the charge with $68,000 already pledged from Anthem, Carilion Clinic, Freedom First Credit Union, Haley Toyota, Hydro Flask, Member One Federal Credit Union, Orvis, Blue Ridge Hydroponics, Draper Aden Associates, and EC Pace Company.
Learn more and get involved: https://www.roanokeoutside.com/project-outside/