SYDNEY (Reuters) – Singer-songwriter Casey Donovan performed on stage in Sydney on Thursday in a free concert that treated fans to some of the first live music many had heard in months. But they had to stay in their cars to enjoy it.
Drive-in concerts are emerging as a trend that allows performers to connect with fans in real life while maintaining safe social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Donovan, who shot to fame after winning Australian Idol more than a decade ago, headlined the performance in a car park to about 40 vehicles.
“I’ve been missing live music so much that I’ll go and see it in a car park, in my car just so I can see live music in front of me. It’s good,” said audience member Mick Radojkovic.
To ensure physical distancing, audience members were not allowed to leave their cars but could tune into an FM band on their radios to get full high-definition sound, or simply wind down their windows despite the rain.
Instead of clapping or cheering, fans blared their car horns.
Drive-in Entertainment Australia plans to have several more car park concerts in coming months with many more people being able to attend as COVID-19 restrictions are eased further.
Musicians around the world have had to adapt how they engage with their audiences due to mass closures of concert venues, with many performing online from their homes in virtual concerts.
Concert venues are expected to be among the last to reopen because of the challenges of social distancing.
Country music star Keith Urban performed a surprise live show at a drive-in movie theatre in Nashville, in a test drive for how concerts might look in the era of social distancing.
It was thought to be the first major live music show of its kind in the United States, following the cancellation of hundreds of concerts and tours and the closure of large venues in March because of the coronavirus epidemic.
(This story has been refiled to insert dropped word in paragraph 9)
Reporting by Jill Gralow and Cordelia Hsu; Editing by Giles Elgood