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Alberta resort offers drive-in concerts, other events during COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video: 'Resort to ‘give people a break’ with drive-in concerts, other events during COVID-19 pandemic' Resort to ‘give people a break’ with drive-in concerts, other events during COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH: There’s a new option on the way for Calgary events shut down because of COVID-19 restrictions. As Gil Tucker reports, it will offer people a chance to take in some big names and celebrate some major moments – Feb 26, 2021

The Grey Eagle Resort and Casino on the Tsuut’ina Nation is planning to offer an alternative venue for many events cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are looking for an activity to go to that’s safe and yet still have enjoyment,” Tsuut’ina Chief Roy Whitney said.

Thousands of people have enjoyed taking in some pretty big musical acts over the years at the facility on the southwestern edge of Calgary.

Read more: Calgary Hitmen move to Tsuut’ina Nation for shortened 2021 WHL season

“Diana Ross, the Beach Boys, ZZ Top,” Grey Eagle manager Kevin Yates said.

COVID-19 restrictions have put an end to that, but the resort is now planning to shift the shows outdoors, to a drive-in space alongside the hotel.

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“You can have 206 vehicles there or you can rent a room and watch it right from the comfort of your own suite,” Yates said.

“We’ve done some live outdoor shows here. We had (country musician) Gord Bamford here during the pandemic, so we’re used to putting on a safe performance.”

Grey Eagle is planning to open the outdoor venue on May 1, and not just for musical events.

Read more: New drive-in entertainment venue opening in Calgary amid COVID-19

There are hopes of hosting things like drive-in movies, graduation ceremonies, weddings and church services.

“The possibilities are endless, really, on what you can do in that space,” Yates said. “Give people a break, the break that they deserve, after being pent up and maybe it’s time everyone can just get back to some normal.”

The Tsuut’ina Nation sees the drive-in event space as an important part of its economic development plans.

“It’s an opportunity for us to market our facilities here and welcome people into our community,” Chief Whitney said. “It’s going to be a good feeling to welcome Calgarians back.”

Other Alberta entertainment groups are embracing the drive-in model for shows, including Hotels Live and the Edmonton Opera’s Drive-In Opera.

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