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Drive-in concerts: A new normal for live?

Concertgoers in Lithuania, Denmark and Germany are enjoying performances from their cars, keeping the live experience alive while adhering to social distancing rules

By IQ on 01 May 2020

Drive-in concerts: A new normal for live?

Punter watch a performance by Saulės Kliošas from their cars at Showart’s Drive in Live

image © S. Lankutis/Drive in Live

Music fans in Lithuania, Denmark, Germany and Hungary are among those to access live performances from the safety of their cars, as the coronavirus shutdown rumbles on.

Drive-in concerts are giving people the chance to access live music – as well as theatrical performances and films – while maintaining strict social distancing measures.

In Lithuania, where mass gatherings, concerts and other live shows are to be the last to return under the government’s four-stage exit plan, fans have been getting their live music fix at the Palūknio airfield, around 30 kilometres from the capital city of Vilnius, courtesy of local company Showart.

Showart’s Drive in Live kicked off last week, hosting performances by Lithuanian acts including Giedrė and Saulės Kliošas. Attendees hear the music through their car speakers via a radio frequency.

Performers including G&G Sindikatas, Happyendless and Junior A are slated to play at the makeshift venue in coming weeks, with some concerts broadcast live on public-owned Lithuanian radio station, LRT Radio.

The concerts will take place until at least the end of May.

In Denmark, which has recently seen a blanket ban on its summer festival season, singer Mads Langer recently played a drive-in concert on the outskirts of Aarhus, performing to 500 fans. Attendees could interact with the singer during the performance using videoconferencing platform Zoom.

Drive-in concerts are giving people the chance to access live music while maintaining strict social distancing measures

Drive-in venues are also proving popular in Germany, with 30 makeshift cinemas opening up in Cologne and four other cities in response to the coronavirus shutdown. The drive-ins are also used for live performances, with Cologne band Brings recently performing to audiences of vehicle-dwellers in their hometown.

German venue operator D.Live, the only non-UK member of Oak View Group’s International Venue Alliance, also put on two sold-out shows by the band in Dusseldorf. D.Live is among those to have transformed a disused car park into a drive-in venue, hosting shows by Sido, Alligatoah and club night BigCityBeats World Club Dome at its Autokino Düsseldorf (Drive-in Cinema Dusseldorf), near the Messe exhibition grounds.

Stand-up comedian Markus Krebs and rapper SSIO are playing at the drive-in in coming weeks. Around 1,000 to 2,000 people can attend shows at D.Live’s Autokino, which holds up to 500 cars.

A slightly different tack has been taken by musicians in Hungary, where just yesterday (30 April) it was announced that no large-scale events would be taking place this summer. Members of Budapest’s MAV symphony orchestra have mounted loudspeakers to their cars, broadcasting past performances as they cruise through the city.

If people want to request an appearance near their homes, they can message the orchestra’s Facebook account with their address.

The orchestra’s efforts are another example of musicians giving back to their local communities, in a similar vein to a fireman in Brazil, who has been serenading the streets of Rio de Janeiro with his trumpet, atop a 50 metre cherry picker.


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