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Ahoy! Floating theatres take to the water

On the back of the first-ever float-in music festival, cinemas are getting in on the aquatic entertainment action, with new floating movie theatres opening up in the UK, Italy, Israel, Canada and the US in the coming weeks.

In Britain, floating film experiences which place moviegoers in socially distanced rowing boats are planned for cities including London, Birmingham and Liverpool, screening a mix of new films and old favourites, while an amphibious theatre under construction in Rome’s EUR district plans to show Italian classics, along with the Italian premiere of stop-motion movie Missing Link.

“During lockdown, when we dreaming of being outdoors, we got a lot of calls from people who wanted us to set up a drive-in,” says creator Gianluca Giannelli. “But we didn’t like the idea of people going from being locked down in their living rooms to being locked down in their cars at a time when nature was taking over. So we thought of a natural space to show movies within the city.”

“We didn’t like the idea of people going from being locked down in their living rooms to being locked down in their cars”

The London cinema, moored on the Regent’s Canal in Merchant Square in Paddington, will feature 16 boats providing seating for up to 128 people. Planned films include Toy StoryThe Lion King and musicals Rocketman and The Greatest Showman.

Another, on Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park lake, opened for a test screening on 20 August, with around 200 people sitting in 70 pedal and rowing boats to watch the film Paddington 2.

“It was an amazing evening. It’s great to see a cinema corona-style,” attendee Galia Resnick told Reuters. “We had an amazing time. The whole family enjoyed it. Good move, Tel Aviv.”

Floating cinemas will also sail into Miami, New York, Vancouver and Houston, Texas, later this summer.

Unlike the cinema events, guests were able to bring their own boats to Laiva, the Latvian festival that pioneered the floating music festival concept earlier this month.

Latvia paves the way for float-in music festivals


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Latvia paves the way for float-in music festivals

Latvia is the latest country to come up with a creative format for socially distanced concerts after pioneering float-in music festival, Laiva.

The one-day festival took place on Lake Jugla and saw 1,500 people in boats watch Laima Jansone, Tautumeitas and Dagamba perform on the shores, at the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum.

Guests were invited to either rent a boat or bring their own, provided it fell into the category of a rowing boat, SUP board, or a motorboat with a lift motor.

The festival, which took place on 8 August, was streamed live on TV channel LMT Straume and organisers dubbed it “a phenomenal evening”.

From deck chair concerts in Germany to tuk-tuk drive-ins in Thailand and bike-in concerts in Italy, Lativa’s float-in music festival is the latest in a series of innovative socially distanced shows taking place worldwide.

Latvia’s government has reported 1,290 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 32 related deaths. In May, The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania opened their borders to one another, creating Europe’s first coronavirus “travel bubble” since nations began shutting their borders earlier this year.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.