In the Summer of COVID, Drive-In Theaters Make an Unexpected but Welcome Comeback

Cars, masks, movies and music.

With performance spaces and movie theaters closed indefinitely due to the pandemic, entertainment promoters are looking at new ways to bring live arts and films to its patrons. In a blast from the past, drive-in theaters, once the stuff of nostalgia, have proved reliable and safe venues for both concert and movie goers.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “L.A.’s midcentury 20th culture was in a big way defined by drive-in attractions. In the 1950s, there was the popular Gilmore Drive-In, now the site of the Grove outdoor mall, while the Van Nuys Drive-In Theatre was lovingly re-created for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. The city’s retro-futuristic Googie architecture came into its form to attract passing cars from freeways.

“In the COVID-19 era, drive-in concerts were first mounted in Denmark, with an April set from singer Mads Langer. But if there’s anywhere in the world prepared to bring them back, it’s Southern California.

“‘I used to go to drive-ins when I was a kid. I never thought we’d see the day when you’d go to one to see a concert,’ Angelo Moore, Fishbone’s founding singer and saxophonist, said the day before his Ventura show, which also featured sets from stalwart L.A. Latin rockers Ozomatli and Ventura’s Rey Fresco.”

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