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The Socially Distant Spectacle of Drive-Ins and Patios

Pre-pandemic, the music industry was thriving based off of its largest income generator; live entertainment. Artists like The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, and Snoop Dogg were all set for major headlining tours that can bring in millions of dollars from ticket sales and merchandising. However, now that it is not possible to fill an arena and its mosh pit, live entertainment is shifting in new ways to safely execute socially distanced shows.

A new twist on an old classic is drive-in entertainment for live shows. Inspired by those summer nights of catching a good movie or two in drive-in theatres, these shows manage to bring together shows that entertain the masses from the distance of a parking space. The method has managed to work for many smaller artists as well as queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. The drag production in LA was even set to feature an appearance from Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande (for a surprise performance of their latest collaboration) however, that was scrapped due to safety concerns. Much of the inspiration for that cancellation came following dance-pop artists The Chainsmokers held a similar concert in New York but it lacked proper social distancing guidelines. The venue and its partners are now currently under investigation by the governor of the state. Evidently, the bigger the name in entertainment, the more difficult it has become to provide a live show in-person.

For local and up-and-coming artists, many have turned to performing outdoors as well. Patios have become the new local stage, as performers are now limited to smaller and properly spaced out settings. Whether its brunch, and a night of few too many margaritas, many spaces are now offering outdoor arrangements for dining that include a show.

As restaurants and other spaces begin to open up within proper guidelines, it is an excellent idea to pick a spot that is featuring and supporting a local artist. For all performers, whether big or small, the gig economy is facing a huge shortage of availability for production staff, crew, and performers. Now is a good time to be looking to support local and smaller entertainers, especially online. Whether it is streaming their songs, or following them on social media, the future of live entertainment will largely be digital-based for the time being. By helping them build their online platform, it can help them find new success beyond their local and close communities.

For artists and those who currently work in the gig economy who are currently struggling financially during the pandemic, the Recording Academy’s non-profit foundation MusiCares has compiled a list of resources and grants in Canada. For more information or to donate go to:

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