MAINE, USA — Typically, festivals, concerts, and endless events fill those perfect and worry-free summer nights. But the coronavirus pandemic means most live shows have been pushed back to September at the earliest and in some cases to 2021—or canceled altogether. Musicians and venues are getting creative to bring live music back into our lives in a safe way.
While many bands are doing live streams, some are taking things a step further and doing live shows at drive-ins and other outdoor venues.
John Moore, owner of Narrow Gauge Cinema, said there seemed to be a hunger for live shows—from customers and performers—after the success of the drive-in shows of Maine comedian Bob Marley. The Farmington show was Marley's first since the pandemic. After the strong turnout and reaction, Moore said other acts warmed up to the idea.
The Maine-grown folk and alt-rock band The Ghost of Paul Revere had a four-night run at Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington in June. All four shows sold out.
"Performers and fans have been couped up for a while, so it made for a really fun event," Moore said.
The Narrow Gauge Cinema drive-in holds 55 cars, and Moore said everyone so far has been complying with social distancing and safety guidelines, like staying in cars, and concert-goers are asked to wear masks if they leave their vehicles.
"There's also more you can do, as with anything," Moore said, "but people are being respectful of the rules."
The Ghost of Paul Revere said in a Facebook post they were “so grateful to have been given the opportunity to safely do what we truly love once again and feel hopeful about the future of live music.”
If you missed those shows, don’t worry—Narrow Gauge Cinema is holding more live concerts in July.
And The Ghost of Paul Revere has more live shows planned in New England:
- July 15 at the Misquamicut Drive-In in Westerly, R.I.
- July 17 at the Cheshire Fairgrounds, drive-in style, in Swanzey, N.H.
- July 18 Higher Ground Drive-In Experience at Champlain Valley Exposition in Junction, Vt.
Of course, drive-ins around Maine are also screening concerts. A Blake Shelton one-night concert event will be streamed at the Bangor Drive-In, Prides Corner Drive-In, and Skowhegan Drive-In on July 25.
The Don Campbell Band has been playing live outdoor shows as part of their Clamstock Concert Series at Clambake Seafood Restaurant in Scarborough. The shows are free, but donations are appreciated. There are four upcoming shows:
- Thursday, July 16
- Sunday, August 16
- Saturday, September 12
- Saturday, October 10
Live shows aren't only being played at drive-ins and restaurants. Some towns are doing their part to fill the music void. Kennebunkport is one. The parks and recreation department has a "Concerts on the Lawn Series," where people can enjoy live concerts from their cars on the lawn of the Rec building. Food is available so people can picnic, and they say socially distanced dancing is encouraged. Space is limited and there's a $15 entry fee per vehicle, paid online when registering.
There are drive-in live music opportunities in Brunswick as well. The Brunswick Downtown Association is hosting "Music on the Mall: Drive-In Style!" The first concert of the social distancing drive-in event features Band Cilantro on Wednesday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Here's the Music on the Mall lineup: