AN EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE town will today play host to a drive-in gig which could be a template for the return of live performances for up and coming artists during the coronavirus lockdown.

While the music industry is hanging by a thread during lockdown indoor performances in front of a live audience are still banned due to risk of possible aerosol transmission – from either the performer or their audience.

Many drive-in show have had the plug pulled because of the pandemic.

Utilita Live from the Drive-In was a series of more high profile live drive-in concerts across 12 specially converted outdoor venues from Filton Airport in Bristol to The Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh over the summer.

Acts which included Bjorn Again, The Streets, Lightning Seeds, Ash and Hue and Cry were to perform to 300 cars a night.

READ MORE: 'Live From The Drive In' cancelled due to 'localised lockdowns' as The Snuts express disappointment

But it was not to be.

Live Nation, who were behind Live from the Drive-In, said developments regarding localised lockdowns meant it had become impossible to continue the live series.

One band affected, the 80s pop duo Hue and Cry ended up performing a streaming ‘live from lockdown’ show instead.

The Coatbridge brothers Pat and Greg Kane went with a stripped down performance live from their own recording studio in Glasgow.

Despite these problems, one group in Glasgow still think a drive-in show is a goer.

"It's a real, honest to god, live gig before an audience," said one excited organiser.

Raintown and Katee Kross will perform sets before a socially-distanced audience in what has been hailed as a “victory for the little guy”.

Both have collaborated with independent promoters to set up the show – without the help of any formal industry support.

The sold-out concert takes place at the Bishopbriggs Music School at 2pm with what the organisers say is "full measures in place", including one-way systems for the toilets.

They say that as the event falls below the 200 people - just 25 area allowed to attend - there is no need for the authorities to be involved.

Audience will be in their cars the whole time and the sound will be transmitted to car radios via an FM transmitter.


Raintown and Katee Kross

Peter O’Neill, one of those organising the gig, said: “This will be a victory for the little guy – too often the focus can be on what bigger promoters are doing, but here we are putting on a show on our own for dozens of folk.

“We know it can’t be helped, and safety must come first, but of course everyone has been frustrated that live shows have been side-lined for the past few months.

“I’ve lost count of how many gigs we have seen postponed or cancelled and so we thought we’d do it ourselves.

“We’ve done all the hard work and we’ve made everything safe and secure. All that’s left is for the performers to take to the stage.”

Katee Kross will be performing in support of her fourth album Show Your Hand, which was released only a few weeks before lockdown.

She said: "We see this gig as being vital not just for us here, but for performers across Scotland.

"This may well prove to be the way forward for so many frustrated bands and singers -- as well as theatre performers and other artists -- who have been denied the opportunity to entertain.

“Not being able to have an outlet for our entertainment has been so difficult on so many musicians’ mental health.

“And I honestly believe this will have huge benefits for many people, not just musicians, because the arts are sorely missed.

“Bringing people together during this time and enjoying something they all love is somethings that simply cannot be overlooked. It is crucial for us all as means of escape.

"None of us know what the future will look like for live events, but this is a safe and secure method of putting on concerts and a way for people to once again enjoy live art."

One socially distanced live event that did happen, was in Newcastle, which played host to the UK's first dedicated socially distanced music venue, but the organisers ruled out a drive-in.

The likes of Sam Fender, Ronan Keating, The Libertines, Maximo Park and Becky Hill performed at the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, between August 11 and September 17, 2020.

We Went to The UK's First Socially Distanced Concert..

It later, however, eventually had to cancel gigs from acts like Kaiser Chiefs and Jack Savoretti as the North East went into an area lockdown from mid-September.

The final venue set up was of 500 five or six-person socially distanced viewing platforms.

For the layout to be approved, SSD had to prove the concerts were effectively 500 gatherings of five or six people, rather than one gathering of 2,500 or 3,000.

And SSD still believes there is more to come as the entertainment sector scraps to stay alive while the pandemic continues.

Katee Kross added:“We have been determined to make something work during lockdown – we’ve missed playing live like every other artist has.

“We started knocking around ideas and we could see that a drive-in gig such as this really could work. The infrastructure was all there, and everything fell into place for us.

“To be able to perform a gig like this at this time is amazing – but being able to do it in my hometown is something special.

Also playing on the afternoon is Glasgow’s Raintown, who have teamed up with Kross in the past for a number of sold-out shows all over Scotland.

The band’s Paul Bain added: “This will be something else.

“Just a week or so before we announced the drive-in gig, we had to cancel a sold-out show in East Kilbride, so we were delighted to be able to put a show on in some form.

“It will be history in the making; independent artists coming together to put on a gig like this is something we will be proud to put our names on.

“We just can’t wait to get up there and entertain once again.”

In July, Liam Gallagher, Dua Lipa and Sir Paul McCartney were among 1,500 artists who have signed an open letter calling for support for the UK's live music scene.

Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones and Coldplay also signed the letter to the culture secretary warning of the impact of Covid-19 on venues and musicians.

It said the music industry faces "mass insolvencies", with gigs and festivals unlikely to return until 2021.