Drive-in concerts: a pandemic phenomenon

Times are very weird right now in our world and everyone is doing what they can to adapt and make the best out of things. One new idea that’s become popular are drive in concerts. For those people like myself who feel absolutely empty without live music (dramatic but some will understand) this is a great bandaid for our broken hearts. I recently went to my first drive in show and am so excited to share with you all the details, how we saved money doing it, and tips/tricks for your first drive in show.

I had the absolute HONOR of attending my first drive in show right outside of Chicago to see my favorite band on this planet, Umphrey’s McGee. This was a two day drive in show in Bridgeview, IL at the Seatgeek stadium. Overall, this show went super well from my view point. Everyone followed the rules and kept distant in my area. There were a couple of things that will need to be tweaked for future shows, but mostly a good first run with this new concept (and probably the only way we see live music for awhile).

I also think this is going to be a great addition to live music in the future because it’s super accessible for anyone with disabilities or kids.

Here’s whatchaaaa neeeeed to know before your first or even your next drive in concert experience. Keep in mind, venues will vary so always make sure you are double checking the venues information and rules.

Drive in shows are expensive

Expensive is a relative term, but if you compare ticket prices with drive in shows vs individual tickets in the past, you see some increase. This is because you are buying a ticket for your entire car or multiple tickets at once. For the Umphrey’s show, you had to purchase a car ticket that included 4 people and there was an extra charge for anyone more than those 4.

Tip: to save money, make sure you are filling your entire car! If you are only going with one other person, your ticket price per person will be much higher than your usual price.

There are multiple ticket options

Another part of the drive in experience that can add or subtract from your expenses is what level of ticket you choose. Some shows will have levels of tickets that will get you closer to the stage and increase your price. With the shows I’ve seen so far, you are looking at premium for the best seats, tier a, tier b, tier c, and so on. Tier c was the cheapest at around $250 and premium was $440. This is all going to depend on how much you want to spend and how close you want to be to the front. We went with the $440 because we had a full car and chose to get the best seats possible for our first show back.

Paying for premium does not guarantee you a good view of the show

So this is going to be some people’s biggest issues and complaints with this show in particular. because the way the show is set up, you could be in the absolute front row but be so far left or right that you have no view of the stage. You could spend $440 and be far right and have WAY worse views than someone in tier b or c that got a middle spot. Obviously not ideal, so take this information and do what you can. Get in line early if having a good view is important to you, no matter what level of tickets you bought.

Edit: some shows are now doing tickets by space number! Check how your drive in show is set up.

The best part…. BYOB AND FOOD!

Oooooof this is the best part about drive in shows and makes up for some of the extra expense. Take advantage of this! We brought multiple coolers, snacks, beer, wine, 40s, liquor, etc… we went the whole nine yards! We saw other groups with hugeeeee set ups and basically brought entire bars and looked like they had it catered.

Tips to Saving Money

I’ve already mentioned a few things: fill your car (safely), get the cheaper tickets, bring your own food/alcohol, etc. Another way we saved money was through our lodging choices. We chose to camp which saved us a tonnnnn of money. Like hundred of dollars…. some of you already know, but some might not, we invested in building a bed in my Subaru so this makes going to shows super easy and cheap. After the show, we just park our car at our campsite, dispersed campsite, or trucker station and sleep like babies while dreaming about all the money we are saving!

What to bring

I already mentioned food and alcohol, the most important thing you have to bring.

You should also bring camp chairs in case you want to sit between sets and a foldable table for all your food and drinks. A lot of people brought things to decorate their spots which was super fun! Lights, blow ups, tapestries, glow sticks, grills (yeah that’s right), camp stoves, and even a blow up mattress were other things I saw that I didn’t initially think of.

Something I was glad we brought were plastic cups and sharpies. This way we could mark our own cup and enjoy all the drinks we brought without accidentally drinking after one another considering everything going on.

Tip: make your group stand out and have a little fun with a theme! You can bring decorations and dress up.

Want a good seat? Get there early

If you don’t have a specifically assigned parking space, it doesn’t matter what tier ticket you have. You could easily be in a spot where you can’t see or hear well, yet you payed for the top tier ticket. If you really want the best spot, get in line early! We got in line and tailgated with our friends which made the time go super fast.

Social distancing

I personally feel like they are doing a great job at encouraging social distancing at the shows. Every row had their own bathroom and someone was there to wipe it down after each person. Again, this may vary by venue so be sure to read up the details of the venue you are attending. They also delivered merch to your car so you didn’t have to go get in line. If social distancing is important to you, I think this is a great way to have some fun while still being safe. However…. if you don’t wish to follow the rules….. you kind of don’t have to. I am in no way shape or form saying you shouldn’t social distance, but you can absolutely go to a friends parking spot a few rows away if you wish. You can’t have like 20 people in a spot, but it seemed like 8-10 people could be in a similar area and it was okay as long as everyone was wearing masks (unless you are drinking or eating).

With everything going on, it’s important to feel safe and comfortable. Drive in shows are not going to be for everyone since there is always a risk no matter what. Make smart decisions and be safe out there, friends!

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