As the coronavirus pandemic has seized up the live-entertainment industry, drive-in concerts have been floated as a safe replacement for audiences jonesing for live music — and Live Nation has announced the first large-scale drive-in concert series in the U.S., beginning in July.
The live-entertainment giant on Monday announced “Live from the Drive-In,” a series of nine concerts taking place July 10-12 in Nashville, Tennessee; Maryland Heights, Missouri; and Noblesville, Indiana.
Country star Brad Paisley will headline shows in all three cities, and will be joined by Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi in Nashville at Nissan Stadium, with country-adjacent rapper Nelly performing in Maryland Heights, near St. Louis. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.
The arrangement calls for Paisley to perform in the parking lot of the amphitheaters, where vehicles — with a maximum of four people per car — will park in every third space, to allow room for attendees to tailgate. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own food, drinks and chairs, setting up around their cars to view the performers from the stage and also from large LED screens. The Missouri is expected to hold as many as 1,000 cars while incorporating social distancing guidelines.
“The traditional drive in, I get it, you’re stuck in your car, and you’re going to get it through an FM transmitter. That’s not happening with these shows,” Tom See, president of Live Nation Venues-US Concerts, told the AP. “We’re giving you what’s about the size of a double-car garage to where you’re going to be able to park your car, get out of your car, and have a great tailgating hang for you and your friends, and listen to music through proper professional PA and amazing audio and video display. It’s really a different aspect of drive-in and live. It’s highly experiential.”
The concert industry is looking at a projected 75% drop in revenue for 2020, with most concert tours and festivals being moved to 2021 at the soonest.
An animated schematic of the concert and other details can be viewed here.
All venue staff are required to wear masks, and Live Nation requests that attendees wear masks upon arrival, where there will be contact-less ticket scanning through their windows, although they are not required to wear the masks or gloves in their tailgate areas.
A menu of hot food items and nonalcoholic drinks will be available for purchase online, that will be delivered to their designated tailgate zone. Fans will only be able to leave their pods to access single restrooms, which will be cleaned regularly throughout the show.
“We’re really dialed in with partnerships with (the) local jurisdictions (and) we’ve been meeting with them for months, just talking about how we can provide a great, comfortable experience to fans with social distancing at the forefront in whatever phase they’re about to enter,” says See. “Because of those relationships and that communication going back and forth, we’ve been successful in getting that green light.”
“It was really important to us not to just do one and be done. It wouldn’t be Live Nation. It wouldn’t be the concert industry leader. We wanted to make a bigger statement.”
Tickets will go on sale for the general public on Friday. Prices vary, but See said tickets will be as low as $125 per car, roughly $31 per person.
“I’m very excited to do this because I wanted to make sure, if we were going to do anything like this, that they had the important stuff worked out,” Paisley said in an interview with the AP. “My goal would be not to spread this virus to one person. There should be no spread from this. That’s key. I just don’t think it’s worth doing shows if we’re putting people at risk.”
“The idea that we’re outdoors is a great thing,” Paisley added. “I just think it’s a fun way to watch a concert anyway. It’d be fun if there wasn’t a virus.”