Will drive-in events take off?
While we still have to follow strict social-distancing rules, people are craving for live, uniting gatherings. Be it live music shows, movie premieres or theater plays, venues and agencies are looking for ways how to make it happen, such as drive-in events. Drive-in cinemas have for decades been considered a nostalgic American past, and are now becoming a reality all around the world. Introducing coronavirus-proof experiments, European countries are picking it up and screening drive-in movies.
Hunter Valley, an American drive-in cinema, predicts a cinema boom after coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. “Of course, there aren’t any new movies to run and of course we will still have social distancing requirements because it has to be safe for everyone, ” comments Hunter Valley operator Scott Seddon.
But while US theaters will still have to wait for a while due to massive number of coronavirus cases, cinema-goers in Lithuania, for example, are already enjoying a drive-in cinema at Vilnius airport. And another Baltic country, Estonia, has announced its drive-in cinema would open this Friday in the car park of Tallinn’s shopping mall Rocca al Mare.
Dubai is considering drive-in cinemas which had been in plans all around UAE for years, even before COVID-19 broke out. And now they could finally become a reality: “We are currently working on several projects across the UAE where we will be looking to implement drive-in cinemas,” says Michael Hayes, the chief executive of Urban Entertainment (via The National).
But while drive-ins have an advantage over crowded gatherings, not all business owners believe in the success of this experimental movie format. “Drive-in movies never took off here,” says the owner of a UK drive-in and open-air cinema, who wished to remain anonymous. He is sure “there aren’t going to be loads of drive-in movies starting up. There’s no money in them. You need an awful lot of space to put the cars in and you can’t charge that much for a ticket to show a film.”
While Europe is working on temporary drive-in cinemas, Americans entice music lovers to try drive-in concerts. The Texas Rangers have just announced a massive four-day drive-in concert series June 4-7, Concert In Your Car. And it has its pluses. First, only one ticket is required for everyone in a car to watch the live show. Second, you may bring snacks, drinks and alcohol with you, which is something that was never allowed at festivals.
As to the downsides of “concert in your car” type of shows, concert-goers might not have a high quality sound experience, as audio will be transmitted via FM radio. So unless your vehicle is equipped with a superb sound system, the live sound may not seem as “live” as you’d want it to be.
And in terms of facilites around, only a limited number of restrooms will be available, so fans are asked “to minimize or eliminate the need to leave their car for any reason.” Not easy if you’ve brought all kinds of drinks and alcohol with you, right?