Promoter giant Live Nation entertainment announced that it would look into utilizing amphitheater parking lots for drive-in concert tours this summer.
The concert industry is ultimately halted for the moment amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and while artists have been hosting livestream events and sharing old concert footage, music junkies are still missing the live-concert energy. People have hosted protests, urging states to reopen concert venues, and one concert even went ahead as planned despite widespread backlash.
Country star Keith Urban explained that while he’s grateful to have the technology to do concerts at home, he said that “without the audience, it’s just one looooong soundcheck.” Last week, Urban held an invite-only drive-in concert for Vanderbilt University medical personnel – the first major artist to do so – which allowed fans to listen to a live set from the safety of their cars at the Stardust Drive-In Theatre in Watertown, Tennessee. While there was no mosh pit, Urban said the car horns and flashing lights was “crazy cool.”
Earlier this month, EDM/alternative artist Marc Rebillet announced the first drive-in theater concert tour in the country, slated to take place next month. From there, news of drive-in tours began to spread and Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino shared that the company was considering testing crowdless shows and drive-in tours this summer in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
In addition to concert tours, drive-in festivals have begun popping-up; Colorado’s Beanstalk Music & Mountains Festival will take over the Holiday Twin Drive-In in Fort Collins later next month, while the Texas Rangers announced a series of eight shows in the Globe Life Field parking lot. Additionally, Yankee Stadium will host its own music festival.
From here, drive-in concerts will become more and more of a “norm” in the industry. According to Variety, Live Nation is looking into taking the concept of drive-in tours nationwide this summer while producing concerts at its 40 amphitheaters in parking lots. Thomas See, Live Nation’s venues president for U.S. concerts, told Variety that while drive-in theaters won’t fully pop up tomorrow or the next day, he’s hoping “to get out there in the next month or two with some active content.”
“We’ll craw a bit, and it’s not a speed game, but when we do it, Live Nation will do it right, that’s for damn sure,” See said. “I oversee over 40 outdoor amphitheaters where we would traditionally do 30-40 shows a year that have parking lots and restrooms all set up, and if we can find a way within each jurisdiction to get the artists and the fans to connect together, that’s the ultimate goal.”
The details are yet to be sorted out, and See said “every location is going to be a little bit different,” but some models include between 500 and 1,000 cars. While the decrease in capacity may be less than what artists are used to, See says it will be a “show that you will never forget.”