Brad Paisley will headline concert promoter Live Nation's first ever drive in concert at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in St. Louis on Friday Night July 10. St. Louis native Nelly will wrap up the weekend event with a show on Sunday Night July 12. The Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre is one of three venues Live Nation will be staging a weekend drive-in concert series that weekend. El Monstero, billed as the "definitive Pink Floyd experience" will play Saturday Night July 11.

Additionally the concert promoter will be holding concerts in the parking lot of the Ruoff Music Center near Indianapolis and the parking lot of the Nissan Center in Nashville. Paisley will be performing in all three cities over the course of the weekend. Jon Pardi will play both the Nashville and Indianapolis events. With Darius Rucker the thrid headliner in Nashville, and Yacht Rock Revue the third headliner in Indy.

So how will this work? Here's an overview of concept from Live Nation:

 Fans can expect contactless ticket scanning through their window when they pull into the venue and then will be shown to their designated tailgate area where they can park and enjoy the show from their own marked-off space. There will be dedicated buffer space around each vehicle to ensure social distancing measures.  All artists will be performing full live sets on stages set up in the parking lots of each of the venues.

Live Nation's "Live From the Drive In" will be like. (Live Nation)
What Live Nation's "Live From the Drive In" will be like. (Live Nation)

The selling point of what Live Nation is doing, as opposed to Garth's Drive-in movie concert experience is this: The performers are with you, on stage, at the front of the parking lot. With a concert sound system. Garth's show will either be fed by those drive-in theater speakers or via those low power FM transmitters some theaters have.

So let's get down to brass tracks, what's the experience going to be like:

  • Ticket prices are being set per car load, and you can have a maximum of four people per car. There is no parking for oversize vehicles, no buses, no limos, nothing with over four wheels. People will be limited to purchasing a max of one space for their vehicle, which is equivalent to a two car garage.
  • Hot food and beverages will be available for purchase and delivered to your space. People can also bring cooked food, coolers, drinks and even alcohol to the shows. No glass bottles, bbqs, grills, fire-pits or tents are allowed.
  • Masks are needed when arriving at the parking lot, and when walking to the bathrooms. However they don't need to be worn when hanging out in your space for the show.
  • There will be several price levels or "zones" for each of the shows. Parking in each of those areas on arrival is first come first served.
  • No tickets can be purchased the the venue. They must be purchased in advance through the Live Nation website.
  • According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, prices will vary depending on venue and artist, but a tickets could be as low as $125. With four people in the car, that's about $31 per person.

It makes sense to me that Live Nation will be trying some of these types of shows. Many of the facilities they own or book have massive parking lots that make something like this possible at many of their facilities.

There are limiting factors though. Giving each car the area of a two car garage is really generous. But that's going to eat up space. Plus. At what point in the "cheap spaces" are you just too far back? I don't think hearing the show will be an issue, but seeing it might be. It's a parking lot. Of course a great sound system, video screens and the artist being there are all positives. So is being able to bring your own cooler full of food and drink.

I suspect we might see another weekend event like this in August, maybe even September and October if they go over well. Perhaps it might be a path forward for touring if we're still dealing with COVID-19 next year. The big question, can the artists make any money playing for 4,000 in venues that usually pack ten to twelve thousand people in for a show? That remains to be seen.

Tickets for the shows go on sale Friday and are available here.

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