Guide to socially distanced concerts around the world: what the future of music events look like

Guide to socially distanced concerts around the world: what the future of music events look like

You can put the thought of crowded moshpits away for a hot minute because socially distanced concerts are here to stay.

Due to the pandemic, we have seen the live music and entertainment industry adapt by holding livestream concerts, and going the extra mile to engineer virtual reality music festivals that allow fans across the globe to interact with one another.

Live concerts you can stream while on COVID-19 stay-home notice

To ensure fans don't completely forget what it feels like to be at a concert venue in the flesh, concert and festival promoters have rolled out socially distanced events and have come up with fresh and innovative ways to hold live gigs while still keeping the audience and performing artists safe.

From drive-in concerts to balcony shows, here's what socially distanced shows look like in the time of COVID-19.


Thailand

Adding a distinct Thai twist to the usual drive-in concerts, The Amazing Tuk Tuk Festival was held in the Bangkok city last Sunday (8/8). Hundreds of tuk tuks gathered at waterside promenade Asiatique: The Riverfront for the live music festival where attendees enjoyed live performances by the likes of local Thai artists such as Potato, Taitosmith, Palmy, and more. 


Philippines

In an attempt to revive tourism in Ilocos Norte, the local government has come up with hyperlocal initiatives such as drive-in concerts at the Laoag Sand Dunes, a popular tourist destination. Starting last July, the city held drive-in shows with 50 4x4 vehicles parked in the venue for a sunset concert by local band, Better than Noise. For 300 PHP per passenger, each 4x4 vehicle was assigned a driver/tour guide and limited to 4 passengers. Sandboarding and an off-road tour also came with the experience. Face masks and social distancing were mandatory, and alcoholic beverages were not allowed. Find out more here.


Indonesia

 
 
 
 
 
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With all the drive-in concerts popping up around the region, Indonesia decided to hold one of its own. The New Live! Experience drive-in concert that happened over the weekend from 29-30 August was held in Jakarta's popular concert venue, JIEXPO Kemayoran. As everyone is still bearing the brunt of the pandemic, the event was supported by Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf) to help cushion the blow to the tourism industry. A maximum of 300 diesel cars was allowed in the event space with only 3 passengers permitted in each vehicle. For a pair of tickets ranging between Rp. 462,000 (USD$31.47) to 1,260,000 (USD$85.82), attendees got to see recognised local Indonesian artists, such as Kahitna, Armand Maulana, and Afghan that were among the lineup that played the show. 


United Kingdom

Sam Fender 

The UK's first socially distanced concert venue just hosted its very first event featuring Sam Fender, last Tuesday (11/8). The inaugural new-age concert saw a maximum attendance of 2,500 fans at the newly reconstructed Virgin Money Unity Arena at Newscastle. The British indie-rock artist performed hits from his lauded album Hypersonic Missiles, and fans on Twitter embraced the new concert concept with open arms. Concertgoers were required to stay in their designated viewing platforms in groups of up to five to watch the performance. Social distancing was upheld as much as possible, with security reinforcing the guidelines by making sure attendees stay in their designated areas.


Gisburne Park Pop-Up 

The UK's first outdoor socially distanced music festival, Gisburne Park Pop-Up kicked off last July at Lancashire, England. The event will run till 31 August, with a mix of live music parties including DJ appearances, film screenings, operas and sing-along sessions. Festival-goers are allocated a "hexagon" - an allocated slot in the field for groups of up to six, which is distanced about 2 metres away from the next group.

To minimise contact, the venue has gone cashless and has incorporated contactless ticket checking, online menus and online payments. Food and drinks are also served individually to each hexagon to prevent queues from forming. For those who wish to be extra cautious, spare PPEs are also available upon request. 

Get more information about the Gisburne Park Pop-Up here.


USA

Live From the Drive In

American country singer-songwriter Brad Paisley, headlined Livenation's 'Live from the Drive-In' event across three cities, St.Louis, Indianapolis, and Nashville from 10-12 July. The drive-in concert mimicked what a typical concert would offer - amplified music with powerful speakers and large LED screens so all viewers got to enjoy the show from their spot. Held at large event spaces such as a stadium's parking lot, each ticket entitled the concertgoers to an 'individual tailgating space', which was the size of a 2-car garage. 

This allowed attendees to dance and sing along outside their vehicles in their assigned space beside the car, bring along their own chairs, food and drinks to enjoy the unique experience. Online menus were provided for those who wish to purchase hot food items and drinks on the spot, which were individually delivered to each vehicle with safe distancing. Wearing masks were also encouraged across the three venues. 

Parking lots were assigned based on the price levels of the tickets, with a tailgate space for fans to watch and groove. 

Unfortunately, Live from the Drive-In has cancelled their upcoming shows in August and September. 


Garth Brooks 

Award-winning country artist, Garth Brooks, announced that he was going to have a one-day-only concert on 27 June at 300 drive-in theatres across America. However, it is important to note that it was not a live concert and Garth Brooks was not physically present at the venues. Instead, it was a pre-recorded concert film flashed on large projectors. Fans could either rely on the drive-in theatre sound system or connect their car radios to the FM frequency of the concert. Social distancing of at least 2 metres between vehicles was implemented and tickets were priced at $100 (S$137) per vehicle. 


Remi Wolf 

Former American Idol contestant, Remi Wolf, held a benefit drive-in concert on June 25 at a parking lot in Chinatown, Los Angeles. To celebrate the release of her new EP, I’m Allergic To Dogs!, the funk-pop star decided to have the benefit concert to donate 100% of all ticketing proceeds to local LA community center, Summaeverythang, and the Plus 1 for Black Lives Fund (Movement For Black Lives, Impact Justice, Equal Justice Initiative, The Bail Project). Fans were required to stay in the car during the gig while the recording artist performed with a projector on stage to give all attendees a good view. Ticket prices for the charity concert was at $30 (S$41) per car. 


Keith Urban 

Australian country singer Keith Urban threw a surprise drive-in concert for frontline healthcare workers at the Stardust Drive-In in Watertown, Tennessee on 15 May. The unannounced concert was planned in collaboration with LiveNation, who coordinated the logistics by giving out car passes to the healthcare workers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Around 200 frontline medical staff pulled up at the venue and stayed within their vehicles while watching the live performance that was also broadcasted on a large screen. 


Travis McCready 

 
 
 
 
 
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Live music has a new twist: temperature checks, lots of space between fans and masks, of course! Travis McCready of the band @bishopgunnmusic and Lauren Brown performed at the first ever socially-distanced concert in Arkansas tonight. ⁠⠀ _⁠⠀ In this gallery, Travis McCready, Jody Stallone, and Robbie Helton perform on stage, Lauren Brown performs onstage and concertgoers wait in a socially-distanced line to receive temperature checks at TempleLive in Fort Smith, Arkansas. | May 18, 2020 | 📸: @KevinMazur | #GettyEntertainment #CapturingThePresent⁠⠀ _⁠⠀ Click the link in our bio for more!

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The state of Arkansas saw one of the first few socially distanced concerts in the world by hosting Bishop Gunn vocalist Travis McCready last May. 80% of the concert venue was scaled down to observe safe distancing and over 200 fans turned up at TempleLive to watch the blues-rock artist. Ticketholders were seated in "fan pods", which were allocated seats in blocks to keep attendees about 2 metres apart. Temperatures were taken before entering the venue and all attendees were required to wear masks. 


Ukraine

Ukrainian rock band O.Torvald played their set on a building rooftop in Kyiv, Ukraine back in July, while fans from the nearby Hotel Bratislava, got to watch the performance from their balconies. Instead of purchasing concert tickets, fans booked rooms at the hotel as their ticket to the live performance. It was labelled "the vertical concert" by the group and fans were exhilarated to dance and sing along without wearing masks, from the safety of their room balconies in groups of four. Following the success of vertical concerts, two more artists played in the same venue: Pianoboy and Scriaban.


Germany 

In the land of beers and pork knuckles, a drive-in concert was held in Bonn, Germany on 13 June with stringent social distancing rules in place. According to a press release, only two passengers were allowed in each car and all vehicles were to be 1.5metre apart - limiting a total of 167 cars in the venue. The concertgoers were required to stay within their vehicles at all times, and even convertible tops were to stay closed. 


Upcoming concerts:

Taking place on 26 September, the iconic Pitchfork Music Festival returns this year with a drive-in and live stream edition. Some of the biggest names playing in the show include Blood Orange, Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX, and more. A-Trak will also be DJ-ing ahead of the show to build the atmosphere and get the audience in the groovy mood. The drive-in concert will be held at The Drive-In at Hotel Figueroa, and streamed live on Pitchfork's website and Youtube channel. To ensure the safety of patrons, all attendees are required to wear masks and security personnel will be on-site to make sure everyone abides by the safe distancing guidelines. 100% of the ticketing proceeds will also be donated to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Tickets are now sold out, but you can find more information here. 


Wild Paths Festival - Wild Fields 

UK peeps are getting their music festival fix afterall. The Wild Paths Festival, is going as ‘Wild Fields’ this year with safe distancing guidelines. Taking place at the Norfolk Showground from 12-13 September, fans will get to enjoy live music, delicious food and pop-up bars. Attendees will be grooving in their allocated pods of up to 6 people, with personal galleys for them to access food stands and restrooms. Safety measures such as regulated queues, social distancing and elevated hygiene standards will be implemented to ensure attendees party safely. Large screens on both sides of the stage and a 360-surround sound system are also an added boost for audience to get the full music festival experience. Check out the lineup below. 

Get your tickets here.



Tupelo Music Hall Drive-In Experience 

Numerous music venues have reinvented themselves to adapt to the pandemic as best they could, and Tupelo Music Hall is no exception. The owner of the venue built an outdoor stage outside the 700-seat indoor theatre, making way for drive-in concerts to come. The newly transformed stage setup has seen local artist, Tim Theriault, perform on 16 May and Kasim Sulton on 23 May. According to the New Hampshire safety guidelines for drive-in theatres, a minimum of 3 metres must be kept between the vehicles at all times and all employees on-site are required to wear a mask. 

Tickets are priced at US$75 (S$102) per vehicle. Get your tickets and view the artist lineup scheduled to play here. 


Andrew McMahon

Alternative-rock artist Andrew McMahone previously held a successful drive-in concert back in July, at a parking lot in South California. The show earned positive reviews, and is now back for its second run on 24 August (sold out) and 25 August at Monmouth Park. It will be held in collaboration with The Basie, a non-profit organisation advocating for cultural arts where a portion of the ticketing sales will be donated to the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund and The Hackensack Meridian Health COVID-19 Response Fund. Social distancing of approximately 3 metres will be imposed between vehicles, and attendees are allowed to wind down windows as they are not allowed to leave their cars. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Tickets for the New Jersey Drive-In shows on August 24 & 25 are on sale now! Tickets are issued per car & you can have up to 4 people in each car (so just one ticket needed per car). You can get tickets and all of the event info, including safety guidelines & FAQs, at thebasie.org/drivein. Can’t wait to bring this show to my friends on the East Coast. Time to party (safely)! . Photo by @alexkaneperkins

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Get tickets to the show here.


Encore Drive-In Concerts 


Metallica will be playing their first show of 2020 this August. But hang on, before you get your hopes up, they will not be performing live and is not physically in attendance. As part of the Encore Drive-In Concerts series that was headlined by Blake Shelton in July, the rock band will be specially pre-recording their live performance. The showcase will be flashed on the drive-in theatre screens and sound will be broadcast through FM radios in the cars. Happening on the 29th this month at over 300 drive-in theatres across America and Canada, they are the first rock band to play in the Encore Drive-In series. 

Ticket prices are at US$115 (S$157) per car, which admits up to 6. Get your tickets here.


The Avett Brothers


Three-time Grammy award nominee, The Avett Brothers, will be playing their drive-in concert at Charlotte Motor Speedway on 29 August. To celebrate the release of their highly anticipated new album slated to drop on the 28th, The Third Gleam, the folk-rock band will perform live for the audience and have the show broadcasted onto a 16,000 square foot large screen. As the drive-in event is sold out, concert promoters have rolled out a pay-per-view livestream so fans could still watch the performance virtually in the safety of their homes. 

Livestream prices start at US$24.99 (S$34) to US$34.99 (S$48). To access the livestream, purchase the access codes here.


Give Live A Chance, Germany 

Bryan Adams is set to headline the "Give Live A Chance" stadium show at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldolf, Germany on 4 September.

The 12,000-capacity venue will see attendees 1.5 metres apart, all while wearing face masks. It is also compulsory for attendees to arrive and leave at designated time slots, with a cap of 10 people each time. Sarah Connor, The BossHoss, Rea Garvey, The Bosshoss, Joris, and Michael Mittermeier are also set to perform.

Ticket prices start from €61.50 (S$99.90) to €94.50(S$153.50). Get your tickets here.


Watch this space for updates on new socially distanced events around the world.