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Drive-in concerts, movies part of ‘new reality’ for Saskatchewan entertainment

Drive-in concerts, movies part of ‘new normal’ for Saskatchewan entertainment
WATCH: Evraz Place in Regina will host three drive-in concerts in one day, while Saskatoon's SaskTel Centre is already embracing drive-in movies. Daniella Ponticelli has more.

Crews applied a fresh coat of paint to the weathered yellow parking lines outside Evraz Place Monday morning — just five days from the first live concert at the site in months.

On June 20, Canadian country musician Brett Kissel will play three one-hour drive-in concerts to an audience of 200 vehicles.

Tickets for the shows, which benefit the Regina Food Bank, went on sale June 13.

The first show sold out in 11 minutes.

“As fast as we could go on sale, the show would sell out,” said Tim Reid, CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL).

“Now we’re not selling out a stadium or an arena like we normally do, it was reduced to a couple hundred seats, but still — the appetite is people are looking for things to do.”

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READ MORE: The New Reality: COVID-19 produces drive-in revival

Reid said the event complies with public health measures in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A maximum of six people per vehicle will be allowed and guests will need to bring their own food and beverages, as concessions can’t be sold under current guidelines.

Audio of the live concert will be played through the car radio. Visitors are asked not to leave their vehicles, however, they can sit in truck tailgates.

Coronavirus: Country star Brett Kissel talks about his Drive-In concerts solution
Coronavirus: Country star Brett Kissel talks about his Drive-In concerts solution

Reid noted Saturday’s events will be the first-run of drive-in event options at Evraz Place, adding the organization is working closely with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) throughout the process.

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READ MORE: Brett Kissel sells out 3 Regina drive-in shows

“In many ways this is about us learning it, because it’s so new, but I think this is the new reality,” he said.

“We’re going to have to start small and hopefully we get back to the days where we get to fill 40,000 seats in the future and get back to the things we love.”

Reid noted the Saturday event will create 30 to 40 jobs related for site staff, and 10 to 20 on the production side.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Evraz Place using quiet time to improve Co-operators Centre

“This time when we have so many people out of work, any little bit helps. We recognize there are strong assistance packages, but people want to get back to work,” Reid said.

Current COVID-19 restrictions on crowd size in Saskatchewan are 30 people for outdoor gatherings, 15 for indoor.

The SHA also asks people to maintain physical distance when possible in groups.

Canadian country musician Brett Kissel performs a drive-in concert in Edmonton on June 14, 2020.
Canadian country musician Brett Kissel performs a drive-in concert in Edmonton on June 14, 2020. Global News / File

SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon has already embraced drive-in entertainment – offering double features at a drive-in movie theatre set up in the parking lot.

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While SaskTel Centre did not return a request for comment, the arena has posted on social media that the parking lot theatre has been extended to June 20.

Global News also checked in with Prairieland Park, Saskatoon’s convention centre.

A spokesperson responded in an email the facility doesn’t have “anything in the works at the moment” regarding drive-in entertainment.