Country superstar Evans agrees to do 2 concerts in one day to comply with COVID-19 mandate

Published 4:02 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Country superstar Sara Evans will perform two concerts for her upcoming scheduled August appearance at downtown Meridian’s MSU Riley Center.

To comply with the 50 percent seating capacity mandate to protect against the spread of COVID-19, two shows will be presented by Evans.

“She (Evans) has graciously agreed to do two shows on Aug. 22 so that all of her fans get a chance to come out and see her,” Daniel Barnard, executive director of the Riley Center, said. “This will be our first big performing arts event after our planned reopening on Aug. 1. We’re really eager to get back to doing what we love, which is entertaining the people of Mississippi and West Alabama. We have been working hard to ensure the safest possible environment for our patrons.”

The concerts will begin at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Safety measures will be in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Concert-goers also will be required to wear masks at all times inside the Riley Center.

Evans was originally scheduled to perform April 18. The pandemic forced the postponement of that appearance.

The Riley Center has invested more than $17,000 in stanchions and other COVID-19 mitigation equipment to help provide appropriate social distancing as patrons enter and exit the theater. Staff members will disinfect the venue before each performance. Because of the masking requirement, no concessions will be served.

A thermal image camera will scan each patron. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to attend. If there’s any possibility of illness, the Riley Center suggests a temperature check before leaving home to avoid disappointment at the theater.

Elevator capacity will be limited to six people, so entering and exiting the theater will take more time than usual. The Riley Center recommends that patrons arrive early. Because only half the seats will be available, season ticket holders may not be able to sit in their usual places.

“We know that some of these measures are inconvenient, and we apologize for that,” Barnard said. “But we have an overriding duty to keep our guests safe. We’re monitoring the situation carefully, and we will relax our guidelines for future shows as soon as we can do so without jeopardizing our patrons’ health.”

Since her 1997 debut album, “Three Chords and the Truth,” she has racked up five No. 1 singles, sold millions of records and won the Academy of Country Music’s Top Female Vocalist award. Her hits include “No Place That Far,” “Suds in the Bucket,” “A Real Fine Place to Start,” A Little Bit Stronger” and her signature song, “Born to Fly.”

Tickets are $45-$115. They can be purchased online at or by calling 601-696-2200. The MSU Riley Center Box Office at 2200 Fifth St. in downtown Meridian will reopen July 6. Operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before showtime.

Structural Steel Services and 970KK are the presenting sponsors.