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Drive-in concerts prove pandemic innovation

Concerts are one of the most profitable and popular nightlife entertainment activities. Live music, drinks and loads of people who enjoy the same music you do! It is always a night to remember, but due to the current pandemic, concerts are being put under the magnifying glass. Large gatherings and crowds are unsafe, irresponsible and pose a giant threat to public health. How can we enjoy the same immersive musical experience from a distance? Introducing Drive-In concerts! Drive-In concerts are an innovation born from the COVID-19 pPandemic. We’ve had to adapt our entertainment industry due to social distancing, creating new experiences so we can continue to enjoy events we love most.

Tulsa’s drive-in theatre, the Admiral Twin, has jumped on the bandwagon. They continue their regular programming of showing movies on the weekends. On select dates, they now host drive-in concerts. Drive-in concerts are essentially concert experiences without the mosh pits and hours of standing. Now, you can watch your favorite music group from the comfort of your car! There are two types of drive-in concerts the Admiral Twin hosts: Encore Drive-In Nights and Drive-In Theatre Tours. Encore Drive-In Nights are cinematic concert experiences. They are pre-recorded shows of iconic musicians. The Admiral Twin showed a Blake Shelton show in July and a Metallica show in August. There has also been a Drive-In Theatre Tour. This is a live and in-person experience. They’ve hosted a concert by Casting Crowns and a tour by Marc Rebillet.

I personally have experienced a live drive-in concert at the Admiral Twin. I attended Marc Rebillet’s June 20 Drive-In Tour with a close friend. Marc Rebillet is a Youtube-famous American electronic musician. The nickname among his fans is “Loop Daddy.” Upon arrival, if we didn’t have a mask of our own, we were given one at the ticket booth. We then found a place to park, and I immediately went to the concession stand. There was a guard monitoring the door to ensure we were maintaining social distancing. Before the show started, as they do before a film, they played music over the radio channel as a slideshow played on the big screen. They played some funky jams! My friend and I were wondering who was queuing the tunes because it set the evening just right. Many of the images on the screen included safety regulations about social distancing and masks. They were mixed in with pictures of the merch, memes and signature poses of Marc in his bathrobe. Upon buying our tickets, we were informed that we couldn’t exit our cars unless we were going to the bathrooms, merch stand or concessions. On arrival, though, people were sitting in lawn chairs, on picnic blankets, on tailgates or even on top of their cars, but everyone was still wearing masks so I didn’t think anything of it.

Soon enough, the show began. Marc came out on a golf cart in his underwear wearing way too many glow sticks. He rode through each row of cars and climbed back into his trailer located at the very back of the space. His loop gear, microphones, greenscreen and camera were inside this open 6-by-10 feet enclosed trailer. His footage from the trailer streamed directly to the big screen. As the concert went on, people cheered, danced and honked their horns in response. Between songs, Marc would come out of the trailer and meet people at the gate surrounding his trailer. There was a cameraman who followed him so we could watch everything from our cars. Every time someone removed their mask or had it under their chin to speak to him, Marc would enthusiastically yell for them to “Get the FUCK away” from him. The crowd would laugh and cackle in agreement. We wished we could do that to some people! At the closing of the concert, Marc asked the audience what song they wanted him to play as an encore. He gave us three options, and he asked to honk (instead of scream) in response to the one we wanted. After his encore, Marc came out in his bathrobe on the back of a golf cart. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

As a community, we are living in the uncertainty of when the pandemic will reach its demise. Many of us reminisce in the way “things used to be.” Among the life-altering changes we’ve experienced, there has been an abundance of innovation. Within our entertainment industry alone, we’ve seen several fundraising programs, live-streamed performances and now drive-in concerts. Drive-In concerts are the future!

Post Author: Cheyanne Wheat