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D.Live launches new tech division

German venue operator D.Live is launching a new division offering digital and software solutions developed in-house over the last five years.

D.Tech offers “tailor-made and tried-and-tested software solutions for venue operators, event organisers and other companies,” according to a release.

The programmes promise comprehensive solutions for all workflows in the event industry, and to streamline and digitalise companies’ internal processes.

The D.Tech suite includes an ERP/event management tool, a booking calendar, a Computer-Aided Facility Management, accreditation software, intranet software and a closed committee board.

“Since our founding five years ago, we have continuously worked on solutions to improve our business operations”

“The launch of D.Tech is a groundbreaking step for us and underlines our commitment to making technology accessible to our industry. Since our founding five years ago, we have continuously worked on solutions to improve our business operations. Now we are going one step further and offering our proven IT solutions to other companies and event organisers,” says Michael Brill, CEO of D.Live .

Burkhard Hintzsche, chairman of the D.LIVE supervisory board, adds: “Thanks to new technologies, for example, the company has succeeded in an exemplary manner in optimising the information situation and communication with us as the supervisory board – information asymmetries have since become a thing of the past.”


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Dusseldorf’s Dome gets new name, bigger capacity

Dusseldorf’s Dome arena, most recently called the ISS Dome, was renamed PSD Bank Dome yesterday (1 July) under a new naming-rights partnership between the German bank and arena operator D.Live.

In addition its new name, the arena is getting a capacity increase, from 14,300 to 15,151, as well as a range of new improvements, including new LED lighting, a 70m² LED screen at the visitor entrance, revamped VIP boxes, new parking spaces (taking total capacity to 2,300) and a modernised and expanded backstage area.

PSD Bank Dome (pictured), which in is former guises has hosted performances by the likes of Foo Fighters, Pink, Panic at the Disco and Udo Lindenberg, has also installed a new Covid-secure ventilation system with a high rate of fresh-air replacement.

Michael Brill, CEO of D.Live, says: “Modern, innovative and comfortable – the new Dome has all of these attributes. Over the past months all areas of the venue have been redesigned, renovated and modernised so that all of our partners, event organisers, artists and visitors feel completely at home here.

“We have listened carefully to our promoters and customers over the past few years”

“Thanks to this upgrade, the Dome 2.0 can now develop its full potential and be the attractive live entertainment venue that we want for the city of Düsseldorf.”

“We have listened carefully to our promoters and customers over the past years, taken their opinions and criticisms of the Dome on board, and integrated them into our makeover of the venue,” says the venue’s manager of booking and events, Jele Schuh. “Some examples of that include the bigger crew catering area and the expanded backstage areas. We are confident that productions and audiences alike will feel the positive effects of these changes.”

Gregor Eßer, general manager of the Dome, adds: “People will be laughing, dancing and rocking at the Dome. … We are delighted to welcome our partners and our public to the new ambience and the new look. Making live entertainment an experience that you can touch and feel – that’s the new mission of the PSD Bank Dome.”


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Fabian Müller to lead D.Live’s D.Production

Dusseldorf’s D.Live has set up an in-house event technology operation, D.Production, under the leadership of experienced venue/production professional and IQ Unsung Hero Fabian Müller.

Müller (pictured) joined D.Live in 2018 and has been technical manager of Mitsubishi Electric Halle (7,500-cap.) and general manager of Castello Düsseldorf (3,300-cap.). Prior to joining D.Live, he spent five years as head of production at the SparkassenPark hockey (and beach-chair concert) venue in Mönchengladbach.

D.Production’s brief will include looking after all production matters for D.Live’s venues, which also include the 54,600-seat Merkur Spiel-Arena and 12,500-capacity ISS Dome, as well as the Alltours Kino open-air cinema.

“With Fabian Müller we have one of the industry’s best experts leading our team”

“With D.Production we are pooling all of our technical know-know so we can take a flexible and fast approach to handling technical matters at any event in Düsseldorf, be it a major sporting event like the Universiade, open-air cinema, or a small conference,” explains Michael Brill, managing director of D.Live.

Daniela Stork, D.Live’s director of booking and ticketing, says: “By centralising, organisers, associations and federations as well as corporate event customers now have a central technical team for their events. Another positive effect is that our know-how is brought to bear at all of our venues based on best practice.”

“With Fabian Müller we have one of the industry’s best experts leading our team, someone who has been around the industry for many years, and is passionate about live entertainment,” adds Brill.


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Live to play key role in Covid-19 vaccinations

Venues and festivals across Europe have offered their services as vaccination centres as the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine nears roll-out.

The vaccine is now approved in the UK, with the first vaccinations starting next week, and the EU and US are expected follow suit in the coming weeks. According to its makers, the vaccine is more than 90% effective against Covid-19.

In Germany, Dusseldorf venue company D.Live is establishing a vaccination centre in sports and entertainment venue Merkur Spiel-Arena, the 66,500-capacity stadium which serves as the ground of football team Fortuna Düsseldorf.

The centre, which will serve Dusseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, will stretch over 8,000m² across two storeys and have the capacity for up to 2,400 immunisations a day, with the potential to expand if necessary.

Patients arriving at the stadium will first visit one of 12 check-in counters, before making their way through a one-way system to a waiting area, and then on to one of the ten boxes which are being converted into vaccination rooms.

Local guidelines dictate that the vaccine be made available gradually to the entire population on a voluntary basis, starting with vulnerable groups, including hospital staff and patients and carers in care homes.

Covid-19 vaccinations could start in the 27 EU nations before the end of December

Authorities in the UK are similarly requisitioning stadia and other event venues, with the 27,000-seat Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, the Etihad Stadium campus in Manchester, Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey and among the sites identified for mass vaccinations in England.

The Bristol facility reportedly has the capacity to deliver up to 110,000 vaccinations a week to residents of the city and the surrounding areas, starting next week and continuing until April 2021.

In Belgium, meanwhile, newly formed Wallonian festival association FFMWB (Fédération des Festivals de Musique Wallonie-Bruxelles) is offering up its members’ sites and services to help the Belgian government achieve its goal of eight million vaccinations (around 70% of the country) when the vaccine is approved there.

“Our sector has been at a standstill for many months, and our many staff are eager to bring their creativity and dedication to the fight against coronavirus,” says Dour Festival’s Damien Dufrasne, president of the FFMWB.

FFMWB’s 11 members include Les Francofolies de Spa, Les Nuits Botanique and Brussels Summer Festival.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said last week that said Covid-19 vaccinations could start in the 27 EU nations before the end of December. The EC has agreements with six suppliers that would allow it to purchase more than 1.2 billion doses of the vaccine.


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Unsung Hero: Fabian Müller, Castello

He studied law but readily admits that he found working in the live entertainment sector far more enjoyable, so he dropped the law degree and underwent training as a specialist in event engineering.

“Straight after that I pursued further qualifications to become a master for event engineering,” he tells IQ, while he later added qualifications such as the Professional Certificate in Event Safety & Security Management from the International Training Centre for Crowd & Safety Management (IBIT) to boost his professional credentials.

“I basically began working in the live entertainment sector when I was 14. At the time, apart from going to school, I did casual work as a temporary helper for event [organisers] and wedding DJs. However, I quickly noticed that there was more than just bouncy castles and DJs, and after a short while I began to work as a helper for a local service provider before commencing my studies and training.”

Having completed his training, Müller became self-employed and worked as a technician and operator in the lighting trade before kickstarting his career at one of the world’s biggest events: “My first job as freelancer was as a light technician at the Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf,” he reports.

“I was fascinated by the opportunities at D.Live, a company that operates all event venues of a metropolis is unique in Europe”

His relationship with D.Live started through work at then-parent company Düsseldorf Congress Sport & Event GmbH on behalf of a local event organiser and venue operator, meaning his first contact with the company was as a client.

“I therefore knew Michael Brill, our CEO,” explains Müller. “When Michael went to D.Live, I was fascinated by the opportunities offered there – a company that operates all event venues of a metropolis is unique in Europe.

“They also have a team brought together from all over Germany, with each one of them an expert in their own field. However, what was really special for me was the common interests shared by all colleagues – the love of their profession, the love of live music, and the dynamism, which really impressed me right away.”

A native of Düsseldorf, Müller’s first concert experience was at the Mitsubishi Electric Halle (then called PhilipsHalle), so coming full circle to putting on shows and concerts in the venue is particularly pleasing.

“My personal highlights have been when I went against recommendations and the success proved that I had been right”

“Each of our venues tells a tale of my personal history,” he says. “As a matter of principle, I put 100% of my efforts into working for D.Live. Nevertheless, you will see me every year with one or two bands as production manager at festivals or on medium-sized tours.

“I find it extremely important to collect new experiences, to see what other people are doing and to support colleagues. And if we are really honest about it… you can’t and don’t want to completely give up touring.”

Müller admits that taking on the seemingly insurmountable is his favourite aspect of working in production. “My personal highlights have been when I really put my heart and soul into projects, went against the recommendations of others or even had to face up to people who wanted to prevent something, and at the end of the day, the success proved that I had been right,” he says.

“One of these highlights was undoubtedly the Horst Festival in Mönchengladbach, which – as an outdoor, free festival – was completely organised and staged by volunteers to enable their fellow citizens to enjoy culture.” He also cites ARAG Big Air, a ski and snowboard event, as another highlight, while the recent drive-in shows in Düsseldorf are another project that he is immensely proud of.

“Every task was a challenge with the drive-in cinema…there were no references or tips that we could have fallen back on”

“Every task was a challenge with the drive-in cinema,” he states. “We developed a completely new product and we were the first in the world to stage drive-in concerts. There were no references, experiences or tips that we could have fallen back on.

“We had to consider various issues, such as lines of sight from cars, distances between the vehicles and heights of stages. After all, the windscreen of a passenger car always restricts the field of vision.

“The whole behaviour of fans travelling to the show was new. Who comes? When do they come? We discovered that the first step taken by guests was going to the toilet, since some of them had already spent hours in their cars. But there were also new learnings with regard to the productions.

“Here, occupational safety was once again highlighted from another perspective. Issues such as distancing rules and, in particular, measures to protect crews against infection were constantly relevant. One of the great things about our profession, namely sitting together with the crews and drinking a beer after the show, was suddenly forbidden.”

“The amount of work required has considerably increased, while possible capacities have decreased exorbitantly”

Müller and the D.Live team had to persuade the on-stage talent to participate in public announcement tasks. “We had to urge the artists to motivate the guests to stick to the applicable rules… and not lose sight of corona.” And he reveals that fan interaction took on another dimension during the vehicle-centric shows.

“There are few possibilities for communication and reaction from inside the car. To protect local residents from noise during the cinema, we had to ban honking the horn and develop an app that enables interactive clapping, cheering, rejoicing and laughing, and which can be integrated in the transmission sound.”

Addressing the pandemic situation that led to the necessity for the drive-in shows, Müller notes, “Corona accompanies us everywhere. Unfortunately, that will remain so for a long time and we currently do not expect that the market will be able to settle down by the middle of next year or recover its former strength.

“Nobody regarded themselves as being too good to do something on behalf of the event”

“Every event that we are considering is looked at from the perspective of current findings and regulations. The amount of work required has considerably increased, while possible capacities, which I always refer to as ‘our currency,’ have decreased exorbitantly.

“Despite this burden, my employees perform excellent work. The way my boys and girls put their hearts and souls into implementing the drive-in cinema at lightning speed was incredible. Everyone did everything: nobody regarded themselves as being too good to do something on behalf of the event.”

He adds, “The set-up phase particularly reminded me of ‘the good old days.’ It was all just a super experience. And, as a team, the time once again brought us even closer together.”


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D.Live drive-ins attract 100,000 fans

Düsseldorf-based venue operator D.Live, one of the pioneers of the drive-in concert format, has welcomed around 100,000 fans to its drive-in space over the past three-and-a-half months.

More than 90 events have been held at D.Live’s Autokino Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf drive-in cinema) since the company transformed a car park near the shuttered Messe Düsseldorf exhibition centre into a lockdown-friendly drive-in venue in April.

In addition to over 20 concerts by acts including SSIO, Alligatoah, Brings, Tim Bendzko, Max Giesinger, Nico Santos, Hämatom, Sondaschule, Schiller, Tom Beck and Pietro Lombardi, the Autokino has also hosted an opera gala, DJ sessions, sporting events, stand-up comedy, circus shows, film screenings and religious events.

The Local Hero Festival, the last event scheduled for the makeshift venue, took place on Sunday 19 July, with local artists performing alongside Düsseldorf band The Buggs.

“Working with brave artists, event organisers and partners, we have managed to produce something unique in this difficult time”

D.Live managing director Michael Brill says the “response and feedback” for Autokino Düsseldorf were “overwhelming”.

“Working with brave artists, event organisers and partners, we have managed to produce something unique in this difficult time,” says Brill. “The fact that around 100,000 people came to the Autokino is a brilliant result.

“My thanks to the entire D.Live team for their passionate commitment to this project, to the event organisers and artists for their bravery, our service providers who all put up a great performance at such short notice, the local authorities for their trust in us and Messe Düsseldorf for providing the space.”

D.Live will now turns its focus to bringing business back to its venues, the Merkur Spiel-Arena (54,000-cap.), Iss Dome (13,000-cap.), Mitsubishi Electric Halle (7,500-cap.) and Castello Dusseldorf (3,000-cap.), as lockdown restrictions around Europe ease.

Since D.Live started its drive-in concerts earlier this year, the format has taken off around the world, with fans enjoying live experiences from the comfort of their cars in Lithuania, Denmark, the United States, the Netherlands and, more recently, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Russia.


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Classical Gas: A night at the opera, corona style

Following a performance to an audience full of plants in a Barcelona opera house, opera companies in Germany, the UK and the United States are turning to drive-in venues for their opportunity to restart business again.

Dusseldorf’s D.Live, a pioneer of the drive-in concert space, hosted its first-ever drive-in opera last week, with more than 70 performers taking to the 60 metre-wide stage at its Autokino Düsseldorf.

The evening saw the Deutsche Oper am Rhein (German Opera on the Rhine) perform excerpts from popular operas such as Carmen, The Barber of Seville, La Traviata and Nabucco, along with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra to a sold-out, 500-carpacity crowd. Almost 2,000 spectators went to the event, with up to five people able to attend on a €50, one car ticket.

The performance was shown on the 400-square-metre screen with the audio transmitted to car radios via VHF (very high frequency) signals.

The opera is the latest in a long line of D.Live drive-ins, which have included live shows, DJ ‘club nights’, stand-up comedy routines, circus shows, weddings, a first communion and a pole vaulting competition, in addition to the traditional film nights.

“This gala by the Deutsche Oper am Rhein at the Autokino Düsseldorf was the first major opera event to be staged after a three-month break,” says D.Live CEO, Michael Brill. “International soloists, the opera choir and a big symphony orchestra on the huge cinema stage ensured a fabulous evening with plenty of spine-tingling moments.”

Opera companies in Germany, the UK and the United States are turning to drive-in venues for their opportunity to restart business again

Operas are set to arrive at drive-in venues elsewhere, too. A fully staged production of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca will take place in front of 600 cars in the grounds of former IBM complex Tech City in New York as part of the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice on 29 August.

The English National Opera (ENO) also recently announced a drive-in series, Drive and Live, which will see 90-minute versions of Puccini’s La bohème performed live to a 300-carpacity audience at Alexandra Palace Park in London.

The ENO will broadcast sound to cars via bluetooth and states it is exploring options for hiring static vehicles, so those without cars could also attend. The company also aims to set up socially distanced spaces for motorbikes and bicycles.

The opera will run from 19 to 27 September, with tickets costing £100 per car (four people maximum per vehicle). Fans can register their interest here.

The ENO has also announced plans for a series of socially distanced, scaled down shows at the 2,359-seat London Coliseum, following the UK government’s halving of the former two-metre distancing rule.

The new one-metre rule means the venue could operate at 48% of full capacity, rather than 20%, says ENO chief executive Stuart Murphy, with a two-seat, one-row gap between audience members.

Concert giant Live Nation is another to get involved in the drive-in live event scene, recently announcing drive-in concert series in the UK, featuring Dizzee Rascal, Gary Numan, Beverley Knight, the Streets and Kaiser Chiefs, and the United States, with acts such as Brad Paisley, Nelly, Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi.


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Drive-in concerts get live back on the road

Drive-in concerts have been getting the green light from music fans in recent weeks, as former open-air cinemas, empty car parks and disused outdoor exhibition spaces are repurposed to bring vehicle-bound fans their live music fix.

“The beauty of a drive-in concert is that it is a safe place – you are in your car, you don’t get out of it and you can leave the show whenever you want. It’s all under your control,” Michael Brill, CEO of D.Live, which has so far staged 12 live drive-in shows, as well as 22 films and several weddings, tells IQ.

“This makes it a very well accepted type of event. Drive-ins seem to be the right answer to the current situation.”

D.Live, which operates five venues in the German city of Düsseldorf, was one of the first adopters of the coronavirus drive-in concert. Each summer, the company puts on open-air film screenings, so had both the experience and the equipment to quickly set up a drive-in alternative in a car park near the shuttered Messe Dusseldorf exhibition centre.

Transitioning from films to live events, the company erected a 60 metre-wide stage and built a spacious back-stage area to ensure both performers and crew were able to adhere to social distancing measures.

Fans tune in to the performance via their car radios for “crystal clear stereo sound”, adjusting the volume to personal taste. Tickets are scanned through closed car windows, food and drink re pre-ordered before the show and spaced-out queueing systems in place for those wishing to use the restrooms.

“Drive-ins seem to be the right answer to the current situation”

“The only possible obstacle was that people may not like this idea,” says Brill. “It could have been a big flop!”

However, D.Live’s drive-in events have proved to be anything but, with 40,000 people attending the drive-in during its first month of operations to see a range of performers including rapper Sido, hip-hop act Alligatoah, electronic band Schiller, DJs from the World Club Dome club night and comedians Markus Krebs, and Oliver and Amira Pocher.

Ticket prices range from €22 for a film screening up to €120 for a car of two for some concerts, with fans driving for up to six hours to attend the more popular shows. Some concerts, such as those by Sido and Alligatoah, were also livestreamed to those unable to make the drive-in.

A lot of “local and national” competition has sprung up in the past six weeks, says Brill, so shows are no longer selling out in “half an hour or so” as they did in the beginning. “It takes a bit longer now, but we still have constant interest.”

The format has indeed taken off the world over, with drive-in venues opening all over Germany, as well as in Lithuania, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United States and the UK.

In the United States, United Talent Agency (UTA) is working on one of the first-ever drive-in tours with electronic musician Marc Rebillet, in collaboration with promoter Hotbox.

“We were brainstorming out-of-the-box opportunities for artists to not only engage with their fans, but to actually provide live entertainment during this lockdown,” Adam Ogushwitz, who is part of the team representing Rebillet at UTA, tells IQ.

“We quickly deduced that the only way to make this financially viable was to string as many shows together as possible”

“We began hearing about single shows happening in Europe, but quickly deduced that the only way to make this financially viable was to string as many shows together as possible.”

Rebillet is set to play at drive-in venues in Charlotte, Kansas City, Tulsa, Fort Worth and Houston in June and July, with tickets starting from US$90 (€83) for a car of two. The planning of the tour was a far cry from that of a traditionally routed, plug-and-play tour, says Ogushwitz. As regulations across the US vary, the team had to identify open markets and then work backwards in order to find suitable venues.

“Once we found the drive-in locations, there was the process of educating the owners, the majority of whom are not in the music industry, about why they would want to host these shows versus just playing movies,” says the UTA agent.

“We enlisted a producer partner, Hotbox, to help standardise the actual production of the show to ensure continuity and uniformity across the tour.”

Rebillet, who has never relied on big production or massive stage or sound design to drive his shows, seems like the perfect candidate to trial the new drive-in format, but the UTA team is confident that “many of our artists will be able to adapt and thrive within this format”.

“Ticket sales have been fantastic,” says Christian Bernhardt, who also represents Rebillet at UTA. The team expects all shows to sell out and are in the process of adding a few more markets.

“What we’re seeing is that fans are so hungry for entertainment that they don’t need much convincing”

“What we’re seeing is that fans are so hungry for entertainment that they don’t need much convincing.”

Bernhardt adds that while “we recognise that it may not currently make sense for all large production acts to perform in this way, it’s clear to us that this is something that can work for other artists.”

Indeed, one of the pleasantly surprising factors for D.Live has been the way in which fans and artists alike have taken to the drive-in model.

Performing to a sea of steel, there was the potential for artists to feel their efforts were falling flat. However, “artists have loved it” and whether via beeping horns, flashing headlights or an applause-generating smartphone app, fans have been able to show their appreciation.

D.Live is the first venue operator in Germany to use the MeinApplaus app, which allows concertgoers to select from options including cheering, clapping, laughing or shouting. The response is then translated into audio and played back as part of the show to heighten the interaction between fans and artists.

The success of drive-in concert pioneers such as D.Live has driven the interest of other players in the live space.

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino referenced his intention to explore alternative concert formats, such as drive-ins, in a recent earnings call. Indeed, the Danish division of Live Nation has teamed up with local partners to launch the 600-carpacity (© 2020 IQ) Drive In – Live tour, which sees acts including Danish singers Mads Langer, Claus Hempler and Annika Aakjær and rap group Malk de Koijn visit four drive-in venues in the cities of Herning, Aalborg, Odense and Aarhus.

“Drive-in shows have been a great learning experience for the restart of the real thing”

In the UK, Mainstage Festivals, which is behind events including Snowboxx and Kala, has launched the @TheDriveIn event series, bringing film screenings, stand-up comedy nights and silent car discos to 11 cities. Ten free tickets per screening, usually priced at £35 (€40), will be held back for healthcare workers. Tickets are available from 27 May.

A 100-carpacity drive-in venue is also being planned for the Jaarbeurs convention centre in Utrecht, the Netherlands, with family entertainer Juf Roos performing the first show on 13 June.

As more and more clamour for their piece of the drive-in pie, what is the key to ensuring your drive-in concerts aren’t relegated to the scrap heap?

Communication has been a key factor for the team at D.Live. “Booking a drive-in show is not like booking a normal gig,” says Brill. “Rather than everything hinging on capacity and dates, it is now about communicating to clients what they are able to do now, that they couldn’t do last week.”

To keep on top of the rules and successfully translate constantly changing regulations into reality, Brill believes event organisers must develop close relationships with local authorities and prove their credibility.

“This is the key to being ahead of the game and has been our priority so far,” says Brill. This will continue to be vital once venues begin to reopen again, adds the D.Live boss, who describes the drive-in events as “a great learning experience” for the restart of the real thing.

“We have decided we will end the drive-in at the end of July,” says Brill, “and then turn our focus to bringing business back to our venues.”


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Drive-in concerts: A new normal for 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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D.Live transforms car park into drive-in cinema

German venue operator D.Live has transformed a car park near the shuttered Messe Dusseldorf exhibition centre into a lockdown-friendly drive-in cinema.

With Autokino Düsseldorf (Drive-in Cinema Dusseldorf), D.Live aims to provide Dusseldorfers with “nice experiences in this time of social distancing”, says the company, by showing movies in the P1 car park, which is usually occupied by exhibitors at the Messe.

At the Autokino, which features Europe’s biggest portable screen, tickets are scanned through car windows, while food orders are to delivered to straight to patrons’ vehicles.

:The drive-in cinema is the perfect solution”

The cinema opened on 8 April with a screening of Udo Lindenberg biopic Lindenberg! Mach dein Ding, attended by some 1,000 people in 500 cars. It also hosted Easter services over the Easter weekend.

D.Live managing director Michael Brill says: “With so many restrictions, worries and frustration, we all have a need for variety, distraction and a little entertainment more than ever. The drive-in cinema is the perfect solution to both comply with the necessary rules on the one hand, and to get finally get out [of the house] on the other.”

D.Live – whose venues include Dusseldorf’s 51,500-seat Merkur Spiel-Arena, 12,500-capacity ISS Dome and 7,500-cap. Mitsubishi Electric Halle – is the only non-UK member of Oak View Group’s International Venue Alliance, which it joined in October 2019.


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