Drive-in Music Festivals: Is This the Solution?

The pandemic has affected many businesses. Some have been forced to adapt, while others have gone out of business. Organizing a music festival today seems like a dream, but there might be a solution to this problem.

Music Festival Social Distancing

Music festivals have been around for quite a while. Festivals like Woodstock in the sixties gathered thousands of people. Today, some of the most popular shows in the world are Waken, Rock in Rio, Coachella, Lollapalooza, and countless others.

To better understand the popularity of these shows, the first Rock in Rio was visited by 1.5 million people! Last year’s Coachella saw over 100,000 attendees each day. The numbers are quite high for each music festival. Regardless of the type of music you listen to, there is a good chance that you can find a festival dedicated to it.

So how does it work now in the time of the Covid19 pandemic? Well, the short answer is — it doesn’t. There is no social distancing at music festivals, and people gather to party, listen to great live music, and enjoy themselves. Furthermore, they often tend to be as close to each other as possible since everyone wants to be near the stage.

Having hundreds of thousands of people in the same place crowded in front of a stage would be an incredible health risk, so most countries have decided to postpone all such events indefinitely.

On the one hand, it is a great move. Live concerts and live entertainment are huge risks, even if a single person is Covid-positive. At the same time, people are getting restless, and staying at home can be difficult for some.

The Effects of Covid

The effects of the pandemic can be seen in every corner of the world, and we are not talking about health only. Numerous companies were forced to shut down since they were unable to operate under strict measures for fighting Covid.

One of the most targeted areas is entertainment. Since they are not absolutely necessary, most public restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, and festivals were shut down. As you know, nightclubs and concerts gather a lot of people, and this is just the risk people aren’t willing to take. 

Now, we are not saying that this is the wrong decision, and we should do anything we can to save as many people as we can. If shutting down nightclubs can stop the spread of the pandemic, then it is the right thing to do. However, the question here is if there is a way to achieve both? Can we have music festivals while maintaining social distance and keeping everyone as safe as possible?

Many industries are searching for a way to continue working even in these challenging times. Anyone who can work from home is doing just that, but this is not possible in every industry. You can’t work at a gas station from home. The same can apply to doctors, dentists, vendors, and many others.

However, we have already seen that teaching is possible online, and the same can apply to the IT sector. Is there a way to use a similar safe method for entertainment as well?


Over the years, many businesses have started using the drive-in model as a way of improving productivity and saving money. We already know that food chains like McDonald’s have been using drive-through for ages, and it works perfectly well during the pandemic.

The store can continue making food, and a customer will just grab what they ordered without leaving their vehicle. The only change they might make is to close the restaurant and focus solely on drive-through. The first drive-in restaurant was opened in 1921, and it was Kirby’s Pig Stand in Texas.

Similarly, drive-in movies were rather popular in the seventies and eighties. People would stay in the parking lot and watch a movie through the windscreen of their car. This way, cinemas can continue working while ensuring maximum safety for all visitors since no one will be leaving their cars. The same method applies to drive-in theaters. Read these tips to become a perfect movie drive-in patron.

So is this method applicable to live music? Can we have drive-in shows?

Drive-In Music Festivals

In theory, drive-in concerts would work the same way as drive-in cinemas. People would hop into their cars and get to the parking lot located in front of the stage. Needless to say, they would need to follow distancing measures, and they wouldn’t be able to leave their cars. But why would they want to do that? They would be able to see the show through their windscreens, and all they need to do is open the windows to hear everything.

It would be the same way as if they were at a traditional concert, only safer. Ever since the pandemic started, music festivals have been looking for ways to adapt just like any other business. Firstly, they started live-streaming their shows, but it is not the same as seeing and hearing a show live.

The first drive-in rave happened in Germany, and other countries started to follow the example. Australia soon started organizing festivals throughout the country, and it seemed that the plan was working perfectly well.

Of course, drive-in entertainment will work perfectly well as long as people are following the rules, focusing on their safety, and just enjoying themselves.

Safety, Pros, and Cons

In theory, music festivals with social distancing should work perfectly well. People would stay in their cars, and the chances of getting Covid would be low. However, there is a problem. Music shows are known for the amount of alcohol (and drugs) that go through them, and drinking and driving is the last thing you should do.

Even if you are allowed to have a drink or two (based on the law in your country) before you sit behind the wheel, it is not the smartest thing to do.

One might say that people could just avoid drinking and doing drugs and appreciate the fact that they can enjoy a music show. However, this isn’t something that everyone would follow. Police and health workers would have another task at their hands, and they would need to check whether visitors are carrying drugs or alcohol, test the amount of alcohol in blood, and so on.

Finally, we should mention a couple of problems for the festival itself and the artists. As you might know, a car is a lot bigger than the average person. This means that you can fit fewer cars in a parking lot than people. As a result, the number of visitors would be lower, which would result in lower revenues. 

Organizing a music festival can be expensive, and there are numerous expenses for lighting, stage, musicians, ensuring that everyone follows the rules, etc. And the number of sold tickets might not be enough to cover the expenses. It remains to be seen whether drive-in music will become popular, but hopefully, we will soon be able to visit real shows, and the pandemic will be over.