Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mac Powell Team Up for Drive-in Concert Tour

NASHVILLE (BP) — Most summers, Christian artists tour the country performing for packed audiences in churches, arenas and concert halls. This summer, restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic make such crowds temporarily impossible.

So three Christian music stars have found another way to reach their audience. And it’s not a new technology platform. It’s an old one.

Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day’s Mac Powell will begin the Drive-In Theater Tour next month in Watertown, Tenn., just outside Nashville. They will move on to nine more cities from there.

With so many dates in the spring and summer canceled, Chapman said he was eager for any opportunity to play live music again.

“Everything just came to a screeching halt,” Chapman said of the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown. “That’s when this drive-in tour idea was presented to me.”

Chapman has toured with both Powell and Smith at different times in the past and is looking forward to playing together with them — and to encouraging people through his own music again.

Seeing actual faces in an audience, rather than playing to a camera or posting about music on social media, is one of his most motivating factors for the tour, he said.

“Music is a conversation,” Chapman said. “We’ve been having the conversation, but its’ been one sided for a while. Something happens in a live concert situation that can only happen there, and that’s part of the beauty of it. We’re coming with a renewed appreciation for this gift of live music and the opportunity to do this.”

Awakening Events, the tour’s sponsor, saw 95 shows canceled from March to May, said Dan Fife, the company’s president and founder.

Searching for ways to get artists back on the road, Fife thought about a drive-in theater near his home in Arkansas that never closed down during the pandemic. The experience naturally allows for social distancing — cars parked several feet apart, families tailgating or sitting out in lawn chairs.

Fife compared the environment of the Drive-in Theater Tour to a festival, with concertgoers spread out on the lawn and the big movie screen behind the stage showing video of the live concert. The audio will reach the entire area rather than a typical drive-in movie where the audio streams to car radios.

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Source: Baptist Press