May 29, 2020 (updated)
Starting June 12, The Music Yard in South End will kick off a drive-in summer concert series that will continue every Friday through July 31. The series will be produced by Preston Abernathy, the former director of the Breakaway Music Festival in Charlotte.
The concert series will bring live entertainment back to Charlotte after months of quarantine has forced events in the area to postpone or cancel entirely. “The pandemic has been a devastating blow for everybody,” said Abernathy. “We wanted something good for the community to rally behind…something for the people that rely heavily on the local music scene.”
Each show will start at 8 p.m. and end at 11 p.m.; it’s recommended to arrive at 7:30 p.m. and to stay the entire show. Confirmed acts include Of Good Nature, Sun-Dried Vibes, Aurora, Girls Room, DOMii, DJ Fannie Mae, Vinyl Night, Probably Will, Party Dad, Krew Up, Phypher, Clark on the Sax, Kckbck, and CBDB.
To plan a concert series in a COVID-19 future, Abernathy found inspiration in the past. On a recent road trip, he drove by the Badin Road Drive-In near Albemarle, a historic drive-in movie theatre dating back to 1948. When he saw the theater, an idea hit him. “Cars would be perfect,” he said, referring to space making up The Music Yard. After receiving approval from CMPD and the Charlotte Fire Department, Abernathy began the process of turning the venue into a mini drive-in theatre of his own.
The Music Yard typically features standing-room-only audiences but has been radically overhauled to accommodate vehicles. The spreadable pebble rock on the ground has been replaced by a dance floor like surface; in addition, the stage has been lifted four feet higher for better viewing, and speakers will be included around the venue to enhance the sound beyond the stage.
Social distancing measures will of course be enforced at the drive-in concert series. Staff at the event will be wearing masks and gloves, cleaning the equipment in between acts. Hand sanitizer will also be available for all attendees. For the show, you must stay in your car with the exception of using the restrooms at the event. If you own a truck, you’re also allowed to sit in the truck bed if you wish.
When you arrive, your ticket will be scanned, and you will be directed into a designated spot. A total of 30-34 cars will be allowed into the venue, parked in three rows of ten cars and will enter and exit in a single-file line. Car-side food and beverage service will be provided at your car, and it is encouraged that you don’t bring any outside food or drink with you to the show. Alcohol will not be served to drivers, but beer and wine will be offered. Drunk driving will be prohibited.
If you feel like you can’t drive home, a valet service will be provided at the venue for $10, and Uber/Lyft will also be available. Keys will be kept at Southbound, which is directly next to The Music Yard, and you can pick them up the next day.