Gavin James announces summer drive-in tour of Ireland

It's live music - but not as we know it.
Gavin James announces summer drive-in tour of Ireland
Gavin James playing Musgrave Park in Cork last summer. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Gavin James playing Musgrave Park in Cork last summer. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

It's live music - but not as we know it.

Singer-songwriter Gavin James has announced a drive-in concert tour of Ireland, with stops in Cork's showgrounds (July 31), the Greenpark site in Limerick (July 24), Tramore promenade in Waterford (August 7), and Gowran racecourse in Kilkenny (August 10).

It is the latest glimpse into how musicians and artists are adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic and the cancellation of all live music concerts and festivals for the foreseeable future.

We are already used to musicians playing scaled-down versions of their best known hits on their Instagram pages but, now, Live at the Drive-In is aiming to provide "an entertainment space" for music fans, all while adhering to all public health guidelines.

There are some restrictions, though.

Concert-goers will have to stay in their car and bring their own food and snacks. People will only be able to attend with others from the same household, in order to respect social distancing guidance.

Dancing is OK in your vehicle but "exiting your car to have a boogie is not allowed", organisers say, while there is no alcohol permitted on site. There are toilets but organisers say they are to be used "as an emergency facility rather than a public amenity".

Each concert will accommodate 250 to 300 cars and Gavin James will perform two shows per day, at 4pm and 8pm. It is the first of several concerts planned by Live at the Drive-In, which hopes to run events over a six-week period from July 20.

Chances are, Gavin James won't be the last Irish musician to attempt a drive-in concert.

Danny O'Reilly, lead singer of the unfortunately named Coronas, this week said the band is considering "different ways" to promote their new album having had to cancel their summer tour, which included slots at Live at the Marquee and Electric Picnic, as well as their own festival, which was due to take place in Bray over the August bank holiday weekend.

"Drive-in movie gigs - that's the new one people are talking about," he said.

"You could get cars driving into a car park and we're up on stage. Who knows?"

Ireland isn't the first to explore the drive-in concert experience.

In the United States, country music star Keith Urban played a show in Nashville for first responders, while other musicians have planned concerts in Texas, New Hampshire and Arizona in the coming days.

In Denmark, Live Nation, the company which has signed on to run the Cork events centre, sold 600 tickets to an event with singer-songwriter Mads Langer, while Germany has pushed the boat out a little further and has staged drive-in raves. Attendees beeped their horns and moved their windscreen wipers instead of raising their hands or dancing.

Whether it will match up the authentic live music experience remains to be seen but, for some music fans, it will likely be a welcome relief.

Tickets for Gavin James will go on sale on Friday, May 29, for €60 per car of four from liveatthedrivein.ie.

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