A Drive-In Music Festival, Could This Be A Way Forward For Live Music Before A Vaccine?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, major music festivals such as Coachella, Burning Man, Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival and Glastonbury were among the thousands of events around the globe that have been forced to reschedule or cancel their 2020 iterations. To meet the demand of a bored audience stuck at home a wave of online festivals have since taken place, but it can’t be denied that watching from your couch is no comparison to experience it live in a venue. Now however a number of European venues have come up with a solution, a drive-in festival.

Like most regions worldwide, social distancing measure are being enforced in Denmark. However, a venue in partnership with an artist set up a live event that brings people together much like a drive-in cinema, without the need to leave their cars. The show sold out with over 500 tickets purchased in a very short time and it took place in the outskirts of Aarhus. It was headlined by singer-songwriter Mads Langer and his performance was broadcast via FM Radio for those to listen via their car radios to get the best sound no matter how far back they were. Cars appear to be spaced in very big gaps to allow anyone to come and go.

Danish singer and songwriter Mads Langer preforms at a sold-out drive-in concert at Tangkrogen in Aarhus, Denmark on April 24, 2020. (Photo by Mikkel Berg Pedersen / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP) / Denmark OUT (Photo by MIKKEL BERG PEDERSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, further south in Germany, there was another drive-in festival but this one was pushing a harder electronic sound. From the video that surfaced online, the cars are jammed together in rows, with many honking their horns to their favourite drops. This event, however, appears to have relied on the venue’s sound system, meaning the experience would have been less than desirable for those at the back and the blaring horns might have interfered with the listening experience.

From both of these events, we can see they are pretty full suggesting there is, in fact, a demand for such events. However attendees experience would be limited by sound setups, and the venues used. As for the German event, it was apparently hard to police attendee’s from honking their horns and given how the cars were parked no-one except those at the back could leave. Furthermore, many of us love to head to events to let loose and get a little tipsy, this might be in breach of laws in many parts of the world.

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, there is a cloud of doubt as to when the normal operation could return for live music events, there is no possibility of social distancing in normal event environments. Even if festivals were permitted a study found that over 60% of people in The US would not attend such events until there was a vaccine. While in Australia only 40% said they wouldn’t attend, however, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer said that events with large gatherings including festivals and nightclubs would likely not be permitted until a vaccine was available.

As cases being to recede, we might see more of these drive-in festivals or possibly more unique and innovative concepts like the drive-in shows might appear across the globe, so what’s next? Perhaps we could soon see a festival where all the attendees are in bubbles which would allow people to be a little closer to the action and dance around.


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