BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Kim McAbee-Carter, the co-owner and executive director of the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, says she remembers the exact date that the hall was last in business, March 19. Ever since she says it’s just been a waiting game.
“We had a full lineup of shows for the whole year, and nothing has been canceled but everything has been postponed and everyone has said that we are coming back to do the shows," she said.
It is still up in the air when those shows will happen, McAbee-Carter says. The hall had to furlough all of their staff when the pandemic first hit, but since then, they’ve been able to bring back about 70 percent thanks to the paycheck protection program. The hall is mostly used as a music venue, so now that business is at a halt, she says they’ve been working on sprucing up inside.
“Retiling the kitchen, bringing in a little bit of equipment so we can maybe have pizzas and paninis or, you know, add to our food service," McAbee-Carter said.
Since it’s unknown how long music venues will be out of action, McAbee-Carter says they’re looking at possibly restructuring the hall of fame’s business model. The venue could soon start offering tours to small groups that want to see their many displays showing Bakersfield music history.
“But that will definitely be part of the restructure is figuring out how to get groups in here, where we can serve them a little bit of food, do the tour, and maybe have a little presentation on video for them," she said.
Then further down the line, once concerts are allowed, she says the venue will face another challenge. As it exists, holding concerts at their venue only makes financial sense if they are around full capacity. But when the state begins allowing concerts, full capacity will likely not be allowed.
“Half capacity doesn't really work for what you pay an artist to come in and do a show, and the expense you already put out," McAbee-Carter said.
23ABC was told the venue had to postpone 10 shows so far because of the pandemic. They say people can call in about touring the hall of fame in 3 weeks when construction is finished.
McAbee-Carter doesn’t think the venue will be in dire need of funds anytime in the near future.