The creative return of live experiences with a resurgence of drive-in events.

Digital with Principal Global Events

Around the world countries are emerging from months of lockdown restrictions with shops, pubs, and restaurants beginning to re-open for business. While this feels like the beginning of our new normal the restrictions that remain in place for theatre, music and corporate event industries have compelled companies within these sectors to get creative with their offering; be it a virtual conference, a streamed play, or a digital festival. While some restrictions are sure to be necessary for some time yet, it is the emerging drive-in events that are providing live event experiences for large audiences during these times, be it in a socially distanced and safe way.

Drive-in cinemas are synonymous with the US and for decades have been regarded as a nostalgic novelty. However, with the pandemic halting traditional live events, these types of events have made a global resurgence.

Here we take a look at some of the most creative drive-in events that have been taking place round the globe.

The Drive-in from Secret Cinema (UK)

Drive-in events

For 12 years, Secret Cinema have reimagined the most iconic films by creating interactive worlds for audiences to explore. These masters of immersive cinema were always going to adapt well and from July – August their Drive-in offering sprinkled a little bit of magic on a classic idea.

Those who headed to the Goodwood Motor Circuit were in for a theatrical evening of film, action, song, and dance; with movie titles including Rush, Star Wars, The Incredibles, Moulin Rouge and so many more.

The Parking Lot Social (US & UK)

Drive-in events 2

With the slogan “engines off, party on!,” the Parking Lot Social kicked off its 16-city US tour in July, swiftly followed by the UK tour in August and September.

The roving festival transforms the traditional drive-in experience into a three-hour supersized, multi-sensory extravaganza with live bands, ‘car-a-oke,’ silent disco, movies, interactive trivia, and stand-up comedians.

Paris Plages Floating Cinema (FRANCE)

Drive-in events 3

In July, Paris launched its first-ever floating cinema where people watched movies in socially distant electric boats! The “Cinéma sur l’Eau” (or cinema on the water) took place on the Seine river.

This movie night was hosted to celebrate the return of Paris Plages, an annual city-run program that creates temporary beaches in the French capital during the summertime. The limited 38 boat seats were supplemented by 150 deckchairs spread out on the banks of the Seine. A similar event is now set to open in London’s historic canals, called Openaire Float-In-Cinema.

Laiva festival (LATVIA)

Drive-in events 3

Of a similar ilk, Laiva’s float-in music festival was the latest in a series of innovative socially distanced shows taking place worldwide.

The one-day festival on 8th August took place on Lake Jugla and saw 1,500 people in boats watch local bands such as Laima Jansone, Tautumeitas and Dagamba perform on the shores, at the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum.

Guests were invited to either rent a boat or bring their own, provided it fell into the category of a rowing boat, SUP board, or a motorboat with a lift motor.

Estoril Circus Drive-in (BRAZIL)

Rio de Janeiro artists from the Estoril Circus got together to find a way to get back on stage. After a four-month hiatus, the clowns, jugglers, and performers created a drive-in circus. Guests pulled up inside of the circus tent which held up to 40 vehicles. From car windows, children and adults enjoyed the show where applause was replaced with car horns and flashing headlights.

The Estoril Circus has been in Portugal since 1898 and first came to Brazil 30 years ago. But this however marks the first time it ever performed to a crowd of cars.

ENO Drive & Live (UK)

Drive-in events

English National Opera is launching ENO Drive & Live at Alexandra Palace for the first three weeks of September. A specially staged 90-minute version of Puccini’s classic La bohème will be performed live in a unique drive-in theatre experience. Featuring the award-winning ENO Orchestra and Chorus, with an outstanding line-up of the best of young British operatic talent.

The live stage action will also be relayed to screens so that the audience are guaranteed a great view wherever they park up. And if you don’t have a car, don’t worry, bicycles are also welcome!

P Scenen (DENMARK)

Drive-in events Denmark

An open space on the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark’s second-biggest city, was transformed into an open-air concert venue. P Scenen in the Tangkrogen park hosted audiences of 500 cars, each containing a maximum of five people – that’s 2,500 concert-goers on wheels per concert!

Leading the way for drive-in events during the pandemic, the music series started on April 24 with a sell-out show by singer-songwriter Mads Langer and has since hosted a whole series of gigs alongside films, DJ sets and comedy nights.

Virgin Money Unity Arena (UK)

Drive-in events UK

The UK’s first dedicated socially distanced music venue arrived in Newcastle this summer.

The outdoor concert venue located in Gosforth Park welcomed 2,500 people for its opening gig on 11th August. Groups of up to five people were seated at one of the 500 viewing spaces to watch musician Sam Fender perform.

When fans arrived, they had to park at a 2-metre distance from other cars, before being guided by staff to their personal viewing areas, also distanced 2 meters apart.

Further music and comedy gigs are taking place throughout August and September, with the likes of The Libertines, Jason Manford, Van Morrison and Becky Hill.

In conclusion….

These creative drive-in (and float-in!) events have provided some much needed relief and fun for those craving the loss of live events during these unprecedented times. Although they may not have the same atmosphere as a packed crowd, as long as distancing measures are in place, a drive-in event is surely better than no event at all.

If you are looking for other creative ways to bring your team, customers or business partners together again, safely and socially distanced of course, get in touch today and let us help you stay connected with your audience.

Also, visit our Services page for more information.

Go Back