The Fremont Theater’s “Shots for Shows” campaign gave the chance for people to unite over live music in a unique way during the COVID-19 pandemic — through getting vaccinated.

Both first-time COVID-19 vaccine recipients and those returning for their second dose were offered tickets to musical shows at one of their two venues, The Fremont Theater and the Avila Beach Golf Resort. These tickets were given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. The artists the participants could choose to get tickets to included Gary Clark Jr., Chicano Batman, Dawes, Postmodern Jukebox, Pennywise, The Expendables, Reckless Kelly, Brett Young, Metalachi and Lanco.

The Fremont Theater lobby was just one of the three vaccination distribution sites, with the other two venues that participated being the Atascadero Pavilion on the Lake and the Oceano Community Center.

The event lasted two days, with The Fremont Theater kicking off the event on Sept. 16, with Atascadero and Oceano locations joining in on Sept. 17. The event distributed both the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

“We didn’t want to turn anybody away and that’s one of the reasons why we use Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer,” Michelle Shoreman, the division manager of health care access at the County of San Luis Obispo said. “We wanted to make sure that if someone shows up with their teenage child, that they can still get vaccinated.”

Shoresman said many people showed up to this event, with a prominent age demographic of 18 through 49-year-olds. Per data collected, this is an age bracket that is under-vaccinated in relation to other age groups. 

“[The event distributed] 20 to 30 doses in the neighborhood per day and gave out approximately 12 to 15 show tickets. Some people were not necessarily showing up there just for the show tickets, so we did give away some other incentives as well,” said Shoresman.

Bruce Howard, one of the LLC partners of the Fremont Theater, said the campaign was inspired by a popular country artist.

“I owe it all to Garth Brooks. I read that he had a vaccination set up at one of his shows. 17,000 people attended the show and got vaccinated. I was thinking to myself, ‘I bet if he gave free tickets to the next show, he would get a lot more vaccinated,’” Howard said. 

Howard has been a proud Rotarian since the early ’90s. He credits a lot of his motivation to host this event to his time traveling in Northern India, Northern Nigeria and other countries, where he helped distribute the Polio vaccine.

“We still have pockets in our county where people won’t allow their kids to wear masks to school or won’t allow their kids to be vaccinated, in our own county. So we wanted to do something about that. It’s not only about being safe, it’s putting it behind us,” Howard said. 

Howard mentioned that he would like to do another event similar to this in the future. 

“I would do anything to help. If public health came to me in a second I would do this again. This is something that all of us could do together. Vina Robles, The Clark Center, The Performing Arts Center, Avila Beach Resort, Fremont Theater, The Siren, SLO Brew and The Rock. We can all do this together because it’s important,” Howard said.

If you were not able to get vaccinated at one of the three distribution sites, you are still able to purchase tickets for the concerts associated with the event. For more information on the upcoming performances associated with the “Shots for Shows” campaign, visit fremontslo.com/shows.

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