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The Show Goes On (A Little Bit Differently) For The Riverfront Pops Concert

The Quad City Symphony Orchestra hopes that a new group ticket program and plotted-off seats will create a safe - and Fleetwood-Mac-filled - evening.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) says the once-postponed Riverfront Pops Concert will take place, in-person, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. However, ticket sales and seating arrangements will look a little different this year, as the event tries to keep concertgoers safe. 

A new, group ticketing program will be implemented, and tickets will only be sold in bundles of two, six or ten. Each group will then be assigned a piece of Davenport's LeClaire Park, right along the banks of the Mississippi, to call their own for the evening. 

Ticket prices are determined by the plot's location and size and range from $42 to $282. Limited Bandshell seats are available either as a single ticket or in pairs and will cost $35 per person. 

All tickets must be obtained prior to the concert and are available for purchase online at QCSO.org, by phone at 563-322-7276, or in person at QSCO's Box Office located at 327 Brady Street, Davenport Iowa. 

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QCSO Executive Director Brian Baxter told WQAD that those who wish to attend should buy their ticket quickly, as there is extremely limited space this year. 

"These group tickets have been on sale now for one week and they've been selling very well. I want to emphasize that the size of the crowd is much lower than what we're used to for a Pops Concert -- by two-thirds," he said. 

The event is prepared to accommodate 2,000 people - significantly down from the 7,000 that have attended in past years. 

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Despite the large number of people expected to show up, QCSO says they're taking extra precautions to ensure everyone's health and safety. 

Masks are required for entering, exiting and moving about common areas during the concert. Once at the event, visitors will be expected to arrive with, remain with and leave with their group. Additionally, attendees are being asked to go directly to their ticket-assigned spot and stay there for the duration of the concert. 

While food and drinks will not be sold on site, guests are more than welcome to bring their own. Lawn chairs and blankets are also encouraged for those not sitting in the permanent Bandshell seats. 

"This year's been very tough. We're doing everything we can to have these events but take into account the real serious nature of the pandemic," said Baxter. 

And it's not just the audience that'll be asked to maintain social distancing. Precautions will be enforced backstage as well, and the orchestra will be smaller in size this year. Also, the Youth Orchestra opener has been canceled. 

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However, for all of the safety measures and changes, one thing will remain the same: it will bring the sweet sounds of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra directly to the people. 

This year's concert will be a a tribute to the very best of Fleetwood Mac's music, including "Go Your Own Way," "Don't Stop," "Big Love," and more. And to end the evening, the Orchestra will perform their traditional renditions of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever, as fireworks boom overhead .

In a year of global event-cancellations, Baxter believes the Riverfront Pops was worth forming a new task force and coming up with creative solutions - both for the concertgoers, and for the musicians themselves.  

"It's gonna be different. We all have to kind of adapt to this new environment. But it's part of our mission to provide music to the community, so we're doing everything we can to do that."