Live music is making a return to the UK in July, but is it the right way to go about it? The Utilita Live From The Drive-In series will see artists perform across 12 UK venues for fans, with 300 cars allowed for each event.
Utilita Live From The Drive-In is a collaboration between promotor Live Nation and Utilita Energy which will see the event taken to 12 cities including Leeds, Liverpool, London, Bristol and Edinburgh. There will be several different time slots throughout the day for performances, depending on the artist and productions; with acts like Beverley Knight, Cream Classical Ibiza, Embrace, The Snuts, Kaiser Chiefs, The Streets, Russel Watson and more performing.
The drive-in approach to entertainment isn’t a new thing, and has seen a rise in popularity recently with drive-in cinema screenings being shown around the world in the last few years. But is this how people want music to return to the UK, and is it actually beneficial for a music industry which is currently on it knees?
Here at The Pentatonic we are very much focused on the up and coming acts and work with lots of grassroots music venues who are desperate to get back to some form of normality but quite rightly taking public safety as a very important issue. There has been numerous fundraising attempts to try and keep venues open – most notably from SaveOurVenues – however many around the UK have already closed due to inadequate funding and support.
The logistics of a drive-in concert aren’t something that grassroots venues are able to support. There needs to be a large open space with a capacity for 300 cars, and space around the cars for people to exit and still be safely distance away from the neighbouring group. We’re still unsure what the price for a ticket is yet, however it depends on how many people are in the vehicle (maximum of 7), but let’s sat they are around £100; the bands performing will usually charge over £50,000 for a gig; the figures here obviously don’t add up to anywhere near enough to cover the cost of the band nevermind all the sound and lightning equipment and a stage big enough to host the band. The costs are usually covered in part by takings from the bar, but should this really be advocated at a drive-in gig?
The government have been drawing up plans for how to reopen music venues safely and a leaked document earlier this week suggested that people should be 6m apart, along a will a long list of impractical suggestions. This is obviously a difficult process, but if it is down to measures being this strict for pubic safety then it’s not safe to open them yet. The counter-argument is that the venues need to reopen to inject cash back into the industry, although £900,000 of painting a plane seems to be a more important use of the money which could be used to save a lot the venues which are on the brink of collapsing.
We hope that the Utilita Live From The Drive-In series is very successful and goes some way to rebuilding the music industry, but from our perspective as supporters of up and coming music with a close relationship to grassroots promotors and venues it seems like a solution which will benefit very few people but will be applauded for keeping live music alive and take the focus off a more important issue of the many struggling venues.
Pubs with outdoor space look set to be reopen shortly, with 4th July earmarked as a potential date for return. Is there something that could be organised safely at a smaller level for these outdoor spaces where bands can perform in the open space?
Written by: Stuart Daley