Momentum building as Hawks & Reed gradually reopens in Greenfield

Ben Goldsher, Manager of Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center

Original article published in Greenfield Recorder by Staff Writer Mary Byrne

GREENFIELD — With a few events lined up in the near future, Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center is cautiously reopening its doors as the pandemic wanes.

“We feel really optimistic at Hawks & Reed,” said owner Steven Goldsher. “We purposely have been doing a slow rollout and not going full bonkers, because we don’t want to unnecessarily expose people (to COVID-19).”

After a soft opening on Sunday, which will feature a blues band in The Wheelhouse, the venue also plans to host a fundraiser on Aug. 6 for Silverthorne Theater Co., and a music event on Aug. 8 to benefit the construction of a new skate park in the upper parking lot between Chapman and Davis streets.

“We’ve definitely been cautious, but we are starting to look at our calendar, and we are excited to bring arts and culture back to Hawks & Reed,” said Ben Goldsher, Steven Goldsher’s son and manager at the concert venue at 289 Main St.

Ben Goldsher said he anticipates beginning to hold some of the more regularly scheduled events — karaoke, trivia, Drag Queen Bingo — in the next month or two.

“We are being cautious due to COVID,” he said. “That’s been the concern.”

Over the last year, he said, the venue has added new artwork and installed a new sign – designed by Jon Bander – out front.

“We’re always changing,” Ben Goldsher said. “Right now, we’re doing some work on the bar, changing up some logistics of our first-floor bar.”

He also hopes to continue livestreaming events, just as he learned to do when COVID-19 made it impossible to hold in-person events. In February, Hawks & Reed hosted a concert that was livestreamed via the concert streaming service, Couch Music.

“Having options to livestream these events is something we’re hoping to continue and to build upon,”

- Ben Goldsher, Manager

Covid Precautions for Reopening

Certain precautions will still be taken as the venue opens up, namely that hand sanitizer stations have been installed at entries. Wearing masks will be up to the discretion of the patron, he said. “We’re taking precautions to clean extra, and to make sure the space is nice and ready for all the patrons,” he said.

His father added that the venue now has a new geothermal system with a large heating, ventilation and cooling system that is more effective at bringing in fresh air.

“We can turn over air in the room very quickly,” the elder Goldsher said. “So when we have larger crowds, we’re able to mitigate issues.”

He also said that while they can’t require it, staff are requesting that patrons ideally be vaccinated.

“If anybody has COVID or is not feeling well, we’d politely ask them not to come to our events,” he said.

Ben Goldsher said that after the last year, he is exited to reopen and “get the ball rolling.”

“We miss the times before COVID,” he said. “We felt like we were really onto something, and we were making kind of a splash in Greenfield. … Every show we grew our audience, so when we had to come to a screeching stop, it kind of slowed our momentum. We’re excited to bring that momentum back and that energy back … and that energy you can feel flooding out of the building. We’re excited to bring that back to the town of Greenfield and the surrounding towns, and beyond.”

His father, too, is excited to get back to what Hawks & Reed is known for, and is thankful for the community support, in addition to state and city grants, that allowed them to get to this point.

“We’ve historically brought all different genres of music, as well as many community events, local bands and fundraisers,” he said. “We’ll be partnering with Stone Soup (Cafe) again this year for the Harvest Dinner at the end of August. We’re definitely starting to fill up our calendar again … and we’re excited.”