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Music

Is the future of live music a drive-in concert?

Drive-in concert at Tangkrogen in Aarhus, Denmark, on April 24, 2020.
Danish artist Mads Langer performs at a sold-out drive-in concert at Tangkrogen in Aarhus, Denmark, on April 24, 2020.
(Mikkel Berg Pedersen / Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

While live concerts look to be a ways off in California, a city in Denmark found a workaround that might make some sense for L.A. as well.

The Danish city of Aarhus allowed popular singer Mads Langer to perform a drive-thru event at a newly constructed venue just outside the city. With six days’ notice, the event sold 500 tickets and, according to locals, went off without a hitch.

“I’ve played many concerts in my life, but this is really a first,” Langer said, through an audio feed broadcast over very limited FM radio frequency into fans’ cars.

Playing weddings was a safe, steady gig for musicians. Until coronavirus. Now wedding bands, DJs and planners wonder when their next gig might come.
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The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten said the crowds were respectful of distancing regulations and there were no notable incidents at the event.

Local L.A. musicians and the radio station Dublab tried an underground version of this strategy at a concert in Echo Park (in the Vons parking lot home to the popular Taco Zone truck) in March. About 50 fans turned up for that unpermitted show.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that mass gatherings like concerts will be in the final stage of public life reopening in California, and won’t happen until therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 are available.

Aarhus’ model may not be a widespread solution for California’s concert hiatus. But for anyone who has spent an hour leaving the general-admission parking lot at Coachella, listening to a concert in the car may feel a bit familiar.


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