One by one, cars filed into a modern drive-in movie theater Saturday for a drive-in concert with live music.
“We did a Jimmy Buffett one back in 2013, but it’s a while since we’ve done one,” said Coyote Drive-In operations manager Chris Fortune. “This one today [Saturday] is a dry-run for hopefully much bigger and better shows coming up. National headliners, comedians, all that kind of stuff – we’re in the works of booking.”
Fortune said the drive-in concert Saturday was set up as a benefit for frontline and essential workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth reopened in early May. The drive-in concert Saturday worked similarly to how movie showings typically run.
“You can come in, drive in, enjoy the music through your FM transmitter. You can get out and enjoy it from a lawn chair. You can walk around, just as long as you’re keeping a 6-foot distance from other people,” Fortune said. “We are just making sure to keep everybody safe, social distancing the cars, the people, concession lines, beer lines – just trying to do this as the first concert in the social distance lifestyle.”
As more businesses reopen with guidelines and try to bounce back, Mitch Whitten with Visit Fort Worth said all eyes would be on Fort Worth in the coming months.
It is scheduled to host major events and it has to be done, Whitten said.
“We have the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial. It will be the first major golf tournament back on TV, and we’re excited to see what sports without fans is like,” Whitten said. “Texas Motor Speedway hosting Indy Car, the Stockyards hosting Houston Rodeo, Will Rogers hosting equestrian events – all without fans, but taking that first step into coming back.”
Whitten added, it would take time before events mirroring pre-pandemic times will return. However, he said events like the drive-in concert in Fort Worth could help in the first steps of recovery.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned from all of this, it’s that tourism is not just big events. It’s the freedom to roam,” he said.
Some like Dee Amador drove from Oklahoma City to attend on Saturday.
“We had a bunch of concerts lined up this summer that we were going to go check out and they all got canceled or postponed, so this is our fix,” Amador said. “We all have to make compromises and this seems to be a happy medium between going to a concert and keeping everybody else safe.”
Fortune said the drive-in would also be the location for some high school graduations in June.
A similar event is scheduled in Arlington next month.