Drive-in movie theaters were a staple of American life during the 1950s and 1960s, but over time they faded from pop culture. Now, the bygone idea is inspiring concert promoters to hold drive-in concerts during the age of coronavirus, but could this also be the future of attending a gig?
In April, Danish musician Mads Langer performed the first drive-in concert outside Copenhagen, as he wanted to entertain while respecting social distancing guidelines brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"At first, it felt extremely awkward. I realised on-stage that I was performing to four people times 500, rather than 2,000 people," the singer, who is popular in Denmark, told Australia’s Triple J radio.
Instead of clapping and screaming in joy like fans wound do in an arena, they now honked their horns in appreciation after Langer played a tune.
In South Korea, a drive-in concert was also put on in April, and much like some drive-in theaters which exist today, the attendees would pull up in a lot and turn their radio on to a specific channel to hear the gig.
Now, Live Nation, one of world’s premier concert booking companies and venue owners, is flirting with the idea of staging drive-in gigs in the States.
“Over the summer there will be testing happening, whether it’s fan-less concerts, which offer great broadcast opportunities and are really important for our sponsorship business; drive-in concerts, which we’re going to test and roll out and we’re having some success with; or reduced-capacity festival concerts, which could be outdoors in a theater on a large stadium floor, where there’s enough room to be safe,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told Variety.
Concerts in America are more likely to be augmented in the aftermath of the pandemic.
In Arkansas, the band Bishop Gunn, who will perform in Arkansas next week, will play in a venue but with “fan pods,” according to Ticketmaster. Tickets can only be purchased in pods of two to 12 seats to avoid the mingling of groups that have not been social distancing together.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced last month that indoor venues could resume live shows as of May 18.