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WNY concerts making a comeback, but only with a few COVID restrictions in place

Keybank Center web.jpg
Posted at 6:36 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 18:36:28-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Concerts which are postponed by the pandemic are making a comeback this summer, but organizers are dealing with several concerns, including safety guidelines and border closures.

Canadians who bought tickets for Billy Joel's upcoming show at Highmark Stadium said the border will not be open in time for them to get into the United States.

While Billy Joel's concert is outside "Hip-Hop and Harmony" and Eric Church are both playing indoor gigs here in September.

7 Eyewitness News takes a look at what policies concert venues have to keep audiences safe, and what is being done for ticket holders stuck across the border.

"I bought tickets in November 2019, to go see Billy Joel at Highmark Stadium. When the pandemic started, we kind of wondered what's going to happen? In June, we got a notice that it was rescheduled to August 14th, 2021. So, hopefully, the border would be opening and everything would be fine. Now, we're in a predicament that the border is not open for traveling by car to Buffalo," Toronto resident, Shari Katz said.

Toronto resident Shari Katz, reached out to 7 Eyewitness News this week, about her frustration surrounding next weekend's Billy Joel concert at Highmark Stadium.

She said she spent $455 on the concert.

"The border is not open to Canadians and it will not be by August 14th. It's out of- absolutely out of our control. We can fly there. We can fly to the states- but to fly to Buffalo, it's $900 with two stops, and it takes 7 hours. Katz said, "It's just unfathomable that they are not doing anything about it, that they are not considering the implications of not refunding us, not rescheduling the concert."

There's a lot of people that are going to be out of money. To a lot of people this is a lot of money. They have been out of work for this period of time."

She said she and other Canadian Billy Joel fans were told they would not be getting a refund, even though the closed borders are preventing them to attend.

That was, until 7 Eyewitness News reached out to Highmark Stadium about these concerns. The statement was released to tickets holders saying in part:

"Canadian customers that are not able to cross the border and haven't forwarded or resold their tickets are eligible for a refund. Please fill out the form below by August 7 to return your tickets."
Highmark Stadium

In the meantime, WKBW reached out to various event centers in western New York inquiring about the COVID-19 policy, as we inch closer to the concert season.

Communications director for Pegula Sports and Entertainment, Don Heins, issued this statement about concerts at Keybank Center:

"As we did last season, we will abide by all state and local mandates as they relate to our events."
Don Heins, Pegula Sports and Entertainment Communications Director

PSE is preparing for its first concert of the season, taking place indoors, on September 25 with country music singer, Eric Church.

Additionally, one week from Wednesday, the Erie County Fair will continue under CDC guidelines, having no COVID-19 restrictions or ticket limits. It runs through August 22.

Other event centers like the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino and Babeville said they will continue to adapt to the ever-changing safety guidelines.