The pandemic isn’t over, but the light at the end of the tunnel just got a lot brighter.
Amid the chill of winter, Spokane residents received more news that life is poised to return to normal: Pig Out in the Park plans to turn Riverfront Park into a smorgasbord during the run-up to Labor Day and concert promoters have rekindled hopes of a Monsters of Rock reunion concert.
And while there are no guarantees there is hope.
Hoopfest already announced earlier this month that it will be back in September.
Washington State University expects its Cougars to play football with thousands of fans in Martin Stadium.
And the Spokane Interstate Fair intends to bring back its brand of fun.
But the notion of a head-banger’s ball at Albi, before demolition crews descend on the old stadium, is again being considered after 2020 plans for such a show were canceled because of the pandemic.
The Spokane Public School board will revisit the issue of allowing a concert at its stadium during a meeting Wednesday night.
Board members will hear the details and could take action within a few weeks.
If everything gels, a concert would happen in late August, sending the 70-year-old stadium out in style and bringing back some memories from 1988.
That’s when the epic Monsters of Rock tour came to Spokane and treated more than 30,000 music lovers to the likes of Van Halen, the Scorpions, Dokken and an up-and-coming band called Metallica.
Former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar brought up the idea several years ago when he heard about Albi’s fate.
The school board approved the Monsters of Rock concert almost exactly a year ago. Like almost every other public event, however, it was wiped out by the pandemic and quietly shelved.
West Coast Entertainment has resurrected the idea even as site work continues at Albi Stadium.
The 70-year-old facility is due for demolition this fall, but concert organizers are willing to pay up to $550,000 to cover costs associated with any delays.
West Coast Entertainment also expects to organize the transportation of fans, as the Albi parking lot is unusable.
The event would be held over one or two days, depending on how many bands are booked. The school district would receive $1 for each ticket sold, with a minimum of $15,000, according to early details.
The school district would waive its policy of prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages on site.
Other details will be shared during Wednesday night’s meeting. The board meeting will begin at 5 p.m. and is accessible via Zoom.
According to the proposal, potential partners for the event include Northern Quest Resort & Casino, TicketsWest and the city of Spokane.
Meanwhile, Pig Out in the Park organizers announced that the event will return to Riverfront Park on Sept. 1-6.
As before, the event will be free and run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The 41st Annual Pig Out will feature 50 food booths, more than 200 menu items, soft drinks, adult beverages and 35 public market booths.
There may be modifications, however. According to a news release, “those modifications will require some level of monitoring, social distancing and sanitation which will likely require the use of face masks/protection for all involved.”
WSU announced recently that three dates have been fixed for nonconference football games – two of them in Pullman.
After a Sept. 4 game at Utah State, the Cougars will host Portland State the following weekend. Also firmed up is a home game on Oct. 23 against BYU.
WSU also has home games against Pac-12 rivals Oregon State, Arizona, Stanford and USC, though dates have not been set.
Hoopfest has two good reasons for moving the event from late June to mid-September: weather and COVID-19.
Temperatures will be cooler, but the big bet is that Spokane will avoid a third wave of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations as most people are expected to be vaccinated.
“Pushing out to September is this idea that we’ll be healthier and stronger as a community,” Hoopfest executive director Matt Santangelo said. “More people will be vaccinated, and on top of that, more people will be more comfortable engaging in an event like this.”
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