Image courtesy Grand Opera House

You may remember drive-in movies, but COVID-19 has given rise to a new entertainment experience--drive-in concerts.

The Concerts By Car series will re-connect performers and spectators, said Mark Fields, executive director of the Grand Opera House.

"We've all watched plenty of virtual concerts over the last three months, and binged our TV shows and all of that, but that's really a one-way experience, but when you're in the same space, even an open-air space like this with artists, it's a two-way experience," said Fields. "This idea actually started in Europe, and we thought, 'hey, maybe, we can do that here.'"

He called it a way to keep the arts "relevant" and "visible" at a time when people can't be invited into theaters.

"We anticipate that there's going to be a great interest in this series--that people are...they're feeling isolated; they're feeling trapped in their homes; we see that people are getting out into the parks and things as the weather has gotten nicer, but a lot of people really feed their own energy in being at part of live performances, and so that's kind of our bailiwick on a regular basis."

The first performance on July 3, features a Beatles tribute by the Grand's Rock Orchestra, led by Joe Trainor, with room for 185 cars at Frawley Stadium's parking lot--a lot easier to get to than, say, an octopus's garden.

"We will socially distance the cars; people will be able to get out of their cars as long as they stay near by them--either to the front or to the side of them...but in addition to the live sound that will be available from the stage, we are also going to broadcast the concert on an FM band like they do in drive-in movie theaters, so people will be able to sit in their car and hear the concert over their radio at the same time that they're watching it live."

Concerts will be 90 minutes or less. Attendees can sit in their cars or bring their own folding charges. There won't be any sale of food and beverage, but you can bring your own. There's no public restrooms due to the pandemic.  

If all goes well, the Grand hopes to hold a series of concerts that move around.

"It'll be at the Riverfront for July, and we're working on other locations in the county for later in the summer, and as long as the weather stays nice, we could go into the fall," said Fields. "For every concert that we've announced, we're scheduling a rain date as well because...we don't want to put our artists and our technicians at risks by being outside in inclement weather."

To find out more or for tickets, click here.