Eli Young Band, Pat Green and More Texas Country Acts Set for Drive-in Concert Series
Faced with a desire to play live but the inability to do so in the traditional way due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Texas country artists Eli Young Band, Pat Green and more have signed on for a series of drive-in concerts at the Texas Rangers' ballpark in Arlington. The early June shows will be a test of the social distancing-approved format and, if successful, could lead to more events of that sort.
Billboard reports that the Concert in Your Car series at Globe Life Field will begin with Eli Young Band's show on June 4. Whiskey Myers will perform on June 5, Green will take the stage on June 6, and Josh Abbott Band and Kevin Fowler will play the final currently scheduled event on June 7.
As at the drive-in concert recently played by Danish artist Mads Langer, fans will watch the hour-long acoustic shows from inside their cars, which will be parked in every other parking spot, and will listen on their car radios. The band members themselves, all of whom are local, will be distanced from each other onstage, and they will use a minimal crew to run the show.
"At the end of the day, we were pretty comfortable with knowing we would be able to do this safely and be able to fill the void in our lives of not being able to play any shows and the void of people not being able to go see live music. Just being able to drive with our guitars from our houses and plug in and play, we know the four of us can do this without going in for a big bear hug, even though we want to," says the Eli Young Band's Mike Eli. "Our lives have revolved around playing live. We need to be connected with our fans again. We miss them."
Tickets for each concert are priced at $40 per car and must be purchased in advance. Attendance will be capped at 400 cars, and tickets will be scanned through car windows for entry. In an additional effort to adhere to social distancing practices and keep attendees safe, no concessions or merchandise will be available, and while bathrooms will be open, only one person will be allowed in at a time, and the facilities will be disinfected after each use. All of those working the event will be outfitted with personal protective equipment.
The Concert in Your Car series is being planned by Triple 8 Management. Company co-owner George Couri began planning the shows seven weeks ago, working with the Texas Rangers and local authorities to do everything by the book. The team is donating the space for the test run of shows, and two Rangers sponsors also signed on to help with the costs. The bands are playing for less than their usual rates, too.
"The economics of this isn’t going to be interesting to a lot of bands, but if we can expand to 2,000 cars at $100 ticket, the question is how big can you make it?" Couri says. "This is a trial at a scale no one else has tried, and the sky’s the limit."
Mass gatherings, such as concerts, are still banned throughout the U.S., in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Until a COVID-19 vaccine is available, they will remain risky endeavors, a fact that, per a recent survey, may keep many fans from attending shows even if they return before a vaccine is produced.
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