The Arts Through The Windshield

By Niva Cohen '23

Performers in the Philadelphia area partnered with outdoor venues to engage the public in live, outdoor shows.

The last four and a half months were challenging for the entertainment industry. With mandated social distancing, artists can’t perform for large crowds, depriving them of their livelihoods. Although singers and comedians can host online events, they cannot impact their audiences in the same way. 

Luckily, the summer’s warm weather gives performers a chance to shine live. It might not be the same as it was pre-coronavirus, but it is certainly better than watching from a computer.

SALT Performing Arts, a community theatre in Chestnut Springs has opened drive-in performances at Ludwig’s Corner Show Grounds, where vehicles park six feet apart. To avoid liability, the leaders of SALT ask audience members to sign a waiver before their arrival, stating that they are aware of COVID-19 risks. Guests must also remain in their cars, listen to the show on a radio station, and watch with binoculars for the optimal experience. Understandably, SALT asks those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home to ensure the health of all attendees. Outdoor shows are at the mercy of the weather, so SALT has decided to reschedule performances in the event of heavy rain or thunderstorms. If it’s only drizzling, the show must go on.

In a different part of Philadelphia, Live Nation Entertainment has brought local comedians to perform at Punch Line Philly, a Fishtown club. The hosts will protect against Coronavirus by socially distancing seats and capping the audience at 50. Guests must wear masks on the way to their tables but may then take them off to eat and drink. The 50-person crowd limit will prevent better-known artists from contributing to Live Nation’s Philadelphia events, as it is not worthwhile to come a long way for so few spectators. Therefore, locals will have a chance to establish themselves.

Another Live Nation initiative, the Live-In Drive-In series, has been going on at the Citizens Bank Park parking lot. Their website assures that “each event will comply with the most current health and safety standards per local jurisdictions and state regulations.” As their next several performances are sold-out, their events must be seeing some degree of success.

Live shows, which now seem to be novelties, are once again becoming realities. Outdoor events allow people to leave their houses in pursuit of excitement. 


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