BRANSON, Mo.– You can’t find a show on broadway or even on the Las Vegas strip, but there is one location where live entertainment has stayed consistent throughout the pandemic. That place is no other than Branson, Missouri.
Mike, Patrick, a local theater owner in Branson, said one of the reasons they were able to stay open is because of their adaptability.
“2020 was certainly a challenge no doubt, but you know due to the social distancing guidelines and things that allowed us to operate, we were able to comply with those and open up seating and entertain folks,” said Mike Patrick.
Patrick has been called “The Golden Throat of the Ozarks” as a performer at the Grand Country Music Hall in Branson. Patrick says they are very fortunate that CDC guidelines were put in place to allow them to reopen after being shut down for 13 weeks.
“In the history of Grand Country, we’ve never been closed that long,” said Patrick. “The music hall never sleeps and we’re open year-round, so we were very thankful for the guidelines that were put in place so we could safely sit people and entertain them.”
Jason Hughes of the Hughes brothers theatre said one of the positive things about the last year, is that he saw a lot of first time travelers to Branson.
“What’s great about that though is that they’ve come and now they’re like Woah. This is not just the place that was open but this is the place to be,” said Hughes.
“We love first-time visitors here because we can make them repeat visitors,” said Patrick. “We show them a great time in Branson, and ensure that we built a database, where they want to come back.”
Many of those first-time visitors appeared to be young families and theater owners are hoping it will balance out the loss of guests in 2021 who are in the high-risk demographic for COVID-19.
“I think the older demographic until they get vaccinated are going to stay home and not travel as much,” said Patrick. “But I think we’re looking at a strong June and from there on out, I think it will be a strong year.”
Local theater owners hope to carry this momentum forward heading into 2021 around March and the spring.