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The State Theater opens at start of pandemic and keeps music going

Posted at 10:41 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 14:37:17-04

HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. — The music industry has been devastated by this pandemic.

For local theaters and performance halls the PPP funding has been non existent and the cash flow has basically stopped.

Before the pandemic the opening of The State Theatre in Havre de Grace was the buzz of the town.

Ryan Klingmeyer is one of the local artists who comes back to perform— albeit for free and for much smaller crowds.

“When you originally hear that first piece of music that you love and you're feeling it in your heart and your dancing to it and all that kind of thing there’s no money there,” Klingmeyer said. “There’s no fame. It’s just music.”

The dreaded word for basically every business during the pandemic has been capacity.

For theatres that’s been at zero for months.

Even now its a struggle to hit the max capacity you can have in the state of Maryland which is 100 people.

The State Theater usually holds 300 people, and they were hoping to up it 500 by upgrading the balcony space.

Jared Noe, the owner of the theater, said renovating and finally opening the theater over the last two years was a grind of blood sweat and tears.

“My staff wanted to get back to work,” Noe said. “They wanted to kind of share that music and the love they have with the whole thing. That was really like the whole reason we built this place. We’re artists and we’re producers that decided to open a venue.”

Noe has stayed afloat with the dance floor turned into a socially distanced table space.

He’s taped off every other row and put social distancing guidelines in.

Before he could bring guests back in he used the space to broadcast fundraisers.

“We did Harford County Action Agency which does all the food banks up here. We came in and did two of the lockdown festivals with them where we had 4 or 5 different bands come in live. 4 or 5 we’d sent at remote sets.”

The venue helped Non Profits like Char Hope and Addiction Connection Resource.

Creatively filling the space with love despite not getting any stimulus reliefs for themselves up to this point.

“We got a grant from the county but it wasn’t as much as others,” said Noe. “PPP we can’t qualify for because we weren’t open for long enough for problem one. Problem two the funding wasn’t available for performing arts venues, performing arts spaces.”

It hasn’t been easy to open up during a pandemic, but the shows will go on.

“I do want people to come out and see my band play and I do want them to go to a theater,” Klingmeyer said. “If we don’t have the theaters to harness our art than we can’t do anything with it.”

Klingmeyer and the “3 Quarters” band will play a show in January.

They’ve got comedians, wrestling, movies, and even a hybrid live showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween night.

For the full schedule click here.