As the list of summertime events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow longer, a local festival is stepping in to fill the void and allow British Columbians at least one opportunity to enjoy some live music this summer - albeit from a distance.
This year’s Summerset Music & Arts Festival event is set to become Canada’s first-ever drive-in music festival, in an effort to comply with public health officials’ physical distancing guidelines.
Now serving as a benefit concert in support of B.C. musicians suffering from the ramifications of the ongoing pandemic, Summerset is scheduled to take place at the Fort Langley Historic Site from Aug. 28 to 30 this year. The festival held its inaugural event in 2019.
“The benefit concert has been designed to adhere to the BC laws around Covid-19, as the BC government releases their phases approach we will make the final decision as to how attendees can view the concert,” wrote organizers on the event’s website.
“We know there are ways we can support and serve our music community this summer, and we will be working in partnership with local government and health authorities to ensure our guests, artists, and public’s safety.”
For now, organizers say the venue’s size will allow attendees to pop open their tailgate or throw a few blankets in the bed of a pickup and enjoy the show from their own vehicles. According to the festival’s website, each vehicle will have a designated spot that adheres to social distancing regulations.
However, if the drive-in option doesn’t work for you, it’s also offering up “socially distanced plots” for groups of two to four people. The two-person plots will measure 3.35x3.35 metres, (or 11x11 feet), “allowing room for two people to sit comfortably on a lawn chair or blanket,” while four-person plots will be 4.5x4.5m, or 15x15 feet. The aisles and plots will be spaced out according to government regulations, according to the festival.
As a third and final way to experience the festival, organizers are planning to offer a live stream of the concert. By requesting a donation from viewers to access the live-stream, they’re hoping it will “enhance the community involvement and fundraising component of this event.”
Organizers say the concert will feature a yet-to-be-announced lineup of performers and local entertainment, as well as food and beer.
In terms of other health and safety precautions, the benefit concert will be a cash-less event, with all transactions requiring a credit or debit card tap. Organizers say extra hand washing stations and restrooms will be available, while a sanitation team “will maintain rigorous cleaning standards.”
Organizers added, “Maintaining social distancing will be strictly enforced.”