Concert venues witness economic recovery after a rough 2020


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Getting back into the groove of things, that’s what local concert venue owners are doing now that COVID-19 restrictions are loosening.

Both Adam Hartke and Alex Thomas from WAVE and The Cotillion say they are overjoyed with the amount of support they have seen from the community and hope this trend continues throughout the year.

“This is what we fought for strong for all these 16 months was this recovery and getting back to business,” said Adam Hartke, operating partner at WAVE.

During the peak of the pandemic, local concert venues were hit hard.

“I think we had as much of a drought as we probably could have handled,” said Alex Thomas, managing partner at The Cotillion.

Both owners had to apply for PPE loans, lay off employees, and develop new ways to survive.

“Being back in business is important. Getting our employees back and giving them work to do and having those opportunities are all important,” said Thomas.  

Thomas said now it’s a different story.

“We have been booking shows, and we have been open for a couple of shows, and people are excited to be back. They are supportive,” said Thomas.  

In July of 2021, they are selling out shows, booking new artists and organizing future events.

“They have been purchasing tickets, and we are back up and running,” said Thomas.

Hartke said he’s also seen a similar trend. He sold out two shows last week and organized the lineup for Riverfest, which he is looking forward to after a difficult 2020.

“Not only are people showing up for these large shows, but like, I said the local scene is just really flourishing right now,” said Hartke.  

Both said they believe people started to realize what it really means to nurture young Wichita talent and help local businesses.

“I mean Wichita is a music town it always has been, but I think that identity has been overlooked a lot and people didn’t realize it,” said Hartke.

With the city council approving its first reading of the measure that allows minors to attend late-night events where alcohol is served both believe this will help better the music community.

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