JUST IN: Live music returns to historic Dayton venue

Brian Johnson is the production and promotions manager for Dayton Masonic Live. The Masonic Center is hosting more live music each year. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Brian Johnson is the production and promotions manager for Dayton Masonic Live. The Masonic Center is hosting more live music each year. LISA POWELL / STAFF

More live music is on the horizon in Dayton.

Organizers have announced concerts will return to the Schiewetz Auditorium in the Dayton Masonic Center.

The first act will be Big Bells, an AC/DC tribute band, on Friday, Dec. 4.

It’s been nearly nine months since the last concert was held at the center, which was forced to close at the beginning of the pandemic.

It took two years and nine months to construct the Dayton Masonic Center, according to the center’s website.  The cost to build the Grecian style building in 1926 was $2.5 million.    TY GREENLEES / STAFF
It took two years and nine months to construct the Dayton Masonic Center, according to the center’s website. The cost to build the Grecian style building in 1926 was $2.5 million. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

“It’s exciting to have an opportunity to see live music again,” said Brian Johnson, Dayton Masonic Live’s production and promotions manager. “There’s just a million problems in the world right now and these types of escapes and release can help people emotionally.”

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The venue is a historic eight-story structure built in Grecian architecture style, that originally opened in 1928.

Attendance at the shows will be capped at 255 —15% of the auditorium’s seating capacity — per Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s plans for reopening indoor performance venues.

With 1,400 seats to choose from “you should never have to be within 20-feet of other people,” Johnson said.

The high ceilings in the auditorium give the space an open-air feel and a new HVAC system, installed during renovations a few years ago, will aid in ventilation.

The combination of soaring limestone walls, an Art Deco chandelier and lamps and hand painted murals in the auditorium create a grand concert experience in the Dayton Masonic Center's Schiewetz Auditorium. The floor can be used for seating or as a dance floor for 300 people. LISA POWELL / STAFF
The combination of soaring limestone walls, an Art Deco chandelier and lamps and hand painted murals in the auditorium create a grand concert experience in the Dayton Masonic Center's Schiewetz Auditorium. The floor can be used for seating or as a dance floor for 300 people. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Steps for safety have been planned to keep the audience and musicians safe and social distancing will be strictly enforced, said Johnson.

All ticketing will be done online.

Groups cannot exceed 10 people.

Attendees will be assigned arrival times to eliminate crowds at the entrance.

Temperatures will be taken at the door.

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Masks are required unless eating or drinking.

Sanitation stations will be set up throughout the venue.

One person per group can order concessions.

The performers will be socially distanced on stage and backstage.

The public will have no contact with the performers. The closest seating will be 40 – 50 feet from the stage.

New seating in the Dayton Masonic Center auditorium is part of the renovations done in recent years. LISA POWELL / STAFF
New seating in the Dayton Masonic Center auditorium is part of the renovations done in recent years. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Food from the Pizza Bandit and a full-service bar will be available for purchase during concerts.

Tickets for the Big Bells show are $20 and can be purchased on the Masonic Live website beginning Friday, Nov. 6. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 8 p.m.

Johnson said he is working on dates for upcoming Tom Petty and Green Day tribute band concerts this year and a monthly series of local acoustic music shows is also being planned.

How to go?

The Dayton Masonic Center is located at 525 W. Riverview Ave. in Dayton.

For information about upcoming shows and safety protocols: Website | Facebook

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