“You can just see it in my eyes,” Jenkins told CNN, referring to the apprehension he felt before the band went on stage last Saturday. “We didn’t have a sound control. We haven’t played in four months.”
Jenkins soon calmed down, connecting to the crowd when the band unleashed some of their hugely successful songs, and while the horns of the car replaced the applause.
Welcome to the concert drive-in, a potential cure for heart music fans who crave live shows amid the coronavirus.
While real-time performances were attracted during the pandemic, they are not a substitute for the live experience, according to concertmaster Holly Turner, who attended the Ventura event.
“We should have seen the Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out guy tonight at Dodger Stadium, but that was postponed,” he said. “But that works, it’s what we need: live music.”
Turner and three friends participated in the performance of the bed of a van. They observed the rules of the place, wore masks and kept a safe distance from other vehicles, even when the music moved them to get out of the truck and clap in their parking space.
The concertgoers paid between $ 59 and $ 199 for parking spaces, depending on the distance from the stage. There was no limit on the number of people who could pack the vehicle.
The promoter estimated that there was an average of four people per car for Saturday’s show.
These are not just emerging concerts
Gross ticket sales for live entertainment in North America reached $ 1.6 billion on July 1, according to Pollstar, which tracks the industry. This is a waste of well over $ 3.5 billion generated during the first six months of 2019.
When the pandemic closed CBF productions, Vincenzo Giammanco founded a California-based music festival company. He used about $ 100,000 in federal salary protection funds to start the “Concerts in Your Car” at the Ventura Fairgrounds.
Giammanco says he employed more than 50 people for the third-blind program: from security guards to ticket users to staff cleaning outside toilets every 15 minutes.
“This isn’t even starting to count the people associated with the band and the positive economic effect on nearby businesses,” Giammanco said. “Back then you had people buying food in restaurants because we didn’t provide any. They (concertgoers) also stayed in hotels.”
Giammanco’s upcoming shows include Sublime with Rome, Rodney Atkins, Tracy Lawrence, a tribute band Selena and Jim Messina.
“I think we’re just scratching the surface. It’s not just a pop up,” Giammanco said.
The developer says he wants to attract more popular bands to the venue by charging more per parking space, but he wants the shows to be an affordable price for those struggling financially.
With other forms of mass gatherings restricted, live entertainment promoters are increasingly betting on the concept of an entrance concert: from Texas to Florida to Maine.
“We need this now”
In California, Giammanco seems to be at the forefront of the competition with a large fairground parking lot and a beachfront location.
During the Third Eye Blind concert, an Amtrak passenger train made a stop past the last row of parked cars.
“Hey, who’s playing?” shouted the driver. “Third blindfold, thought yes. That’s fantastic!”
The train pulled away, but the band continued to play on a cold, foggy night, including “Jumper” and a cover of “How Soon is Now?” From The Smiths.
“We’re definitely looking for a way to play and he (Giammanco) has found one that I think is safe, it brings joy to people,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s a pretty tough combination, so I’m definitely rooted for it.”
Billy Vickery and his girlfriend, Maria Martinez, watched the show from inside their orange Corvette.
“That’s fucking, it’s just here,” Vickery said. “We need it now.”
Vickery’s only complaint was that his car’s lights were on intermittently as he kept the radio tuned to the program with the engine off, and that it annoyed nearby attendees.
“We’re all trying to figure this out,” Vickery said as he laughed.