Drive-in Concerts Are the Latest Test for Concert Promoters. But Will They Last?

For the first time since the pandemic sidelined live music in the U.S. in March, veteran DJ D-Nice finally had the chance to play an in-person live gig. D-Nice, who’s been a mainstay amid safer-at-home regulations with his popular Club Quarantine Instagram Live Sessions, flew out to Hallandale Beach, Florida and played a free set for first responders at the Drive-infieldFest, established after the Preakness InfieldFest in Baltimore, Maryland was canceled. But rather than perform for a sea of fans clamored shoulder to shoulder, he spun a set for a couple hundred cars spread out at the Gulfstream Park race track’s parking lot outside.

D-Nice was one of the first major performers to play in a noticeably growing trend of venues and event producers turning to drive-in concerts with most other means of mass gathering are still off-limits. (The Roots hosted the event’s livestream, which kept a virtual donation jar open.) D-Nice has spent the past two months adapting to unorthodox shows performing for his screen with Club Quarantine. Still he says, adapting to an audience largely sitting in their cars had a bit of a learning curve. 

“It was definitely strange to adjust to performing to an audience of vehicles. The way people are moving in their cars, it took me about 15 minutes to adapt to that,” D-Nice says. “The call and response became them honking their horns, and once we all got into it, it started to feel like a party.”

D-Nice isn’t alone. Keith Urban played a small complementary drive-in gig for first responders in Nashville on May 14th as part of the Citi Concert Series, marking concert giant Live Nation’s first go at drive-ins in the U.S. Several other paid drive-in shows are moving forward now as well. The Texas Rangers will host eight concerts from four acts in Dallas outside of their new ballpark in June. At $40 per car or $80 for a VIP parking space toward the front of the stage, the first four shows sold out in minutes, with four added shows selling out in a few hours. The Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, New Hampshire is readying its second drive-in show this coming weekend, and rock band Spafford will play one at a drive-in movie theater in Mesa, Arizona on Sunday. California’s Tailgate Fest, a country festival going on its third year this August with Dierks Bentley as a headliner, had already toyed with the drive-in concept before the pandemic.

Weeks after Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told investors on a quarterly earnings call that the company would experiment with drive-in shows this summer, Live Nation also sold out its first drive-in show in Denmark on Wednesday with 600 cars in attendance. Assuming all goes according to plan and more shows proceed stateside, Live Nation would put on these concerts in their amphitheaters, the company says, and allow fans to tailgate and give pod-style seating to keep social distancing measures active.

“Our ultimate goal is to connect fans with artists to create those lasting memories, and we have teams around the world exploring unique ways to make that happen,” Tom See, Live Nation’s president of venues, U.S., tells Rolling Stone. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to drive-in concerts, but we’re fortunate to have our venues and logistics in place to ramp these shows up quickly as communities are ready. Artists and fans are having fun with them, and employees and crews are glad to be working some shows, so for us it’s a win all around.”

1/ST LIVE managing partner Jimmy Vargas, the Florida show’s organizer, says his company plans on expanding drive-ins across the country. 1/ST LIVE, whose parent company the Stronach Group has ample real estate space through its horse racing tracks across the country, wants to expand shows to key markets where it has race tracks like San Francisco and Los Angeles when measures are allowed. While the show for first responders with D-Nice was free, Vargas said the company would likely implement some type of ticketing system for future shows.

But Vargas doesn’t foresee allowing more than 300 cars in for a show; otherwise it’d just be listening to a concert on the radio, he says. The quality of the show is better as fans won’t get views obstructed by other cars, but the potential revenue per show is lower. Revenue could come from sponsorships and partnerships with different merchandisers and culinary partners, but it’s still a bigger challenge than monetizing a normal show. “It’s a matter of managing expectations for the artists and for the fans too,” Vargas says. “It ain’t the real thing. But it’s the closest we’re going to get right now.”

It’s an innovative idea that gives a glimmer of fun to an otherwise drab summer season more or less taken away due to the pandemic. And as the latest hope at a chance for live music — and some revenue in a particularly dry period in 2020 — the drive-in trend has grown quickly across the country, and other drive-in show announcements will surely surface in the coming weeks. It’s no cash cow, though, and shouldn’t be expected as such. None of the artists, venue owners or event organizers who spoke with Rolling Stone called the concept anything more than an opportunity to get fans out of the house for a show safely and maybe make a bit of cash too.

“Our goal right now is to provide entertainment. This is one of those situations where 100 pennies makes a dollar. We’re just gathering as many pennies as we can” — Scott Hayward, owner of the Tupelo Music Hall

Scott Hayward, owner of the Tupelo Music Hall, was one of the first to hold a drive-in concert through the pandemic, and after selling out one of the two 75-car capacity shows in the Tupelo parking lot earlier this month, he announced more shows this week, several of which are already nearing capacity.  The music hall is charging $75 per car to attend, and he’s selling food and beverages and hopes to set up a tent for a separate makeshift restaurant at the venue as social distancing continues to ease in New Hampshire. Tupelo will do multiple shows per day and wants to make some livestreaming revenue too.

Tupelo Music Hall Drive In

Jerry Lofaro, 2*

But all these ventures still only add up to a small fraction of what a normal concert brings in. Hayward is preparing for a second outbreak and hopes enough drive-in concerts through the summer can earn enough to pay his staff through the winter if a second wave hits and stricter social distancing measures are reinstated. Still, he says, he’s cognizant of the risks a venue takes putting on a show and wouldn’t organize a traditional concert if New Hampshire allowed them to happen.

“The goal wasn’t to match what we were doing; we’re supposed to be doing $300,000 a month in ticket sales,” Hayward says. “It’s to provide shows to help some artists and play some shows. It’s better than being closed. Our goal right now is to provide entertainment. If we can pay some bills, great. This is one of those situations where 100 pennies makes a dollar. We’re just gathering as many pennies as we can.”

And for the Texas Rangers, where Globe Life Park hosted concerts for the likes of Billy Joel and Paul McCartney last year, $40 tickets for a few hundred cars with no food, beverage and merchandise revenue just can’t compare. “As an industry, these are uncertain times; we’re calling for creative things,” Rangers Executive Vice President for Sports and Entertainment Sean Decker tells Rolling Stone. “These shows are about doing creative things to get folks outside and create and maintain jobs.”

The concert experience could vary from show to show as well. Several venues have staggered cars across their lots both to make distancing easier and to help ensure cars don’t block other attendees’ views of the stage.

Whereas Tupelo and 1/ST started with a PA system alongside a radio transmission to give fans a more authentic experience compared to traditional concerts, the Rangers are going radio-only for now to further encourage fans to stay in their cars. And while The Rangers and 1/ST geofence their radio streams so they can’t be accessed outside of the parking grounds, Tupelo’s shows are more accessible. The tech isn’t always perfect. For 1/ST’s show with D-Nice, attendees further from the stage had more delay on their radio streams from the PA than those who were closer in, Vargas says.

Answers to the live industry’s financial woes or not, drive-ins have given artists and fans some of their first in-person tastes of a live show since March, a welcome addition for artists aching to get back on the road. Kasim Sulton, best known as the bass guitarist of the 1970s band Utopia featuring Todd Rundgren, will take a four-hour drive from New York to Derry, New Hampshire to play Tupelo’s second drive-in gig.

Sulton is playing solo instead of with a band to keep up social distancing, and he isn’t expecting much of a payout — he’d be satisfied to make enough to pay expenses for the trip. But he’s playing live again, and that’s enough for now. “This is my 44th year in the music biz performing live professionally. I’ve been home since the middle of March, not because I want to but because I have to,” Sulton says. “That for me is an anomaly. Being forced to stay home doesn’t feel right. To have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, it’s a relief for me.”

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Universal Studios Orlando Sets Theme Park Re-Open Date Amid Pandemic

The Universal Studios Orlando theme park is set to re-open to the public in just a couple of weeks!

It was just announced that the park will open to employees on Monday, June 1st and the general public on Friday, June 5th, THR reports.

The park has been closed since mid-March when theme parks across the country all shut their doors.

Parts of the CityWalk area of the resort opened up earlier this month on May 14th, and now more parts of the resort will be open.

“The health and safety of our guests and team members remains our top priority and we are taking specific measures that include screening our guests and team members, social distancing and requiring everyone to wear a face covering,” the Universal Orlando website reads. We will also be limiting capacity at venues and increasing our already-aggressive cleaning and disinfection procedures.”

For more from their new procedures, visit UniversalOrlando.com!

Find out about opening dates for another Orlando resort – Walt Disney World.

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You hear a heavy sigh from over your shoulder, you turn your head and see that it is Sarah and she is looking at you. Ive decided you say in a deep, soothing tone. Well I saw you do it, so now what. Now Ive decided, Im going to leave youDo you really mean it. You know what I meanBut what if the world does go over the fucking fucking cliff and I could be one of the thousands that dies. You askThats why Im going to wait for the world to get out of its fiery deathly grip, theres going to be a time when the world is going to be normal again and well be there for it. You, you know how you want to spend your life. NoThen youre going to go with Sarah, shes your best chance, she seems to have a good sense of direction in life. Yeah, but what if I cant stand the company of humans. Well, Ill still be waiting around until those goddamn humans are done fucking up the world, then Ill take my new girl, shell like me, I can get a job at a diner, I can find something, Ill be fineBut what about. You go to SarahYou feel like youre being put on a leash, like youre being told what to do. You want to go with Sarah, you want to go to a diner, you want to go to a new world, but what good would it do, the world is going to be ruined and you wont make anything better out of it. I suppose if youre done living in the past as you were before, then by all means stay with me. But youve got a lot to learn about this sort of thing. Id suggest you dont do anything rash, the world will be destroyed and if you want to live in it, youre going to.

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Ll try to do something like this as often as possible. Ll still be managing The Supermarket even after this thing is over. Well yeah, not like the rest of us have much left to do here, let alone having some last minute stress relief. M sure things will still be running as usual. Besides I can always open another location, I mean I know I do it from time to time. T go getting yourself into that situation. Ll still take you up on your offer to run the Supermarket so long as they never have to see me ever again and can just go ahead and sell as much as they want of any shitty crap any of them sells. Ll be busy, but we can start up The Supermarket again when the fighting is all said and done. You just wonder if this is ultimately going to be for the best. T know if your relationship is going to be good long term. T going to let a bunch of jackasses run this place to your.

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I mean, who wouldnt want to share some of the most treasured memories of your lives with some of the most treasured people in your lives. But then it wasnt just the band playing, but the whole scene as well. You were not related by blood, but you had two different mothers and two different fathers. For whatever reason, the whole ordeal of twin relationships were more difficult and emotional for you than the average pair of siblings. 5:When you turned three, your parents told you that you were twins and that you had to choose one of your parents to be your real one and one for your younger sister. For whatever reason, twinings turned out to be more difficult than the average pair of siblings, so you ended up choosing one of your parents to keep as your twin. It is amazing how much you can change in such a short period of time. You could be the most boring girl in the world, but you could be the most amazing sister in real life. Now that you have a real family, you are more comfortable with them as well. The only time you ever have trouble staying in contact with them is when they visit your house, but then you are always quick to greet them again. Your real family has been supportive of your love life. They always tried to keep their daughters choices a secret, but your mom told you that one of the reasons your dad was so overprotective was because he had wanted to keep you safe. He never expected you to marry some other guy, let alone the one you have. You have been dating one of your cousins since that first day you moved in with your real family. He is so much closer to you that he would be the first to pick you up from school and his mother always keeps you entertained. You have learned to deal with the pressure that comes with being in a relationship. You would like to think that your real parents would be proud of you, but the only time you ever get the real satisfaction from being with him, is if it is over with. Your real cousin even helped plan your wedding. Of course by his own wishes, You are now married to your real cousin. The only thing that might throw you a little bit of a wrench into your happy marriage is that your cousin is a bit of a gambler, however if that is the case you figure you could at least be a big success at your wedding with him as the.

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What are you going to do to prevent this viral epidemic. You have until your virus level reached 1,2,3 and you. This is definitely not something you should have to deal with. Of course, this isnt the first time you have gone out with the wrong crowd and fallen for someone with some serious substance abuse issues. It would look bad if you missed a night of partying with your best friends like that. We can probably get something at the bar or something. You say to Rachel who is currently sitting at the table with you. I suppose so, but I mean can we really trust them. They might just get drunk and get stupid and its better to be safe than sorry right. I get you, but maybe we should have a discussion on your idea. I mean whos to say they arent lying. Look, Ill meet you at the club at like 8:30 or so. I feel like I should go with you though. Oh come on, I just spent the past three days with two of my best friends, Im willing to make the sacrifice. At the time you didnt understand why, but you didnt really care at the time. Rachel didnt really talk much about what was really going on with her, she just started crying for the sole purpose of making you happy. Your friends were her everything, and you still havent quite come to terms with that fact. You dont know what would have happened had you stayed home, but you are grateful that someone else was willing to leave with you as well. You dont really hold a grudge about the situation, but the fact is, Rachel was a pretty big part of your life the past few days and part of why you decided to stay in the bedroom. You just wish you would have figured it out sooner. At any rate, a few hours later you make your way to the club. Youre not really in the mood for drinking, but you are hoping that there is still a good.

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Here are all the celebrities who have tested positive for coronavirus so …

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