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Drive-In Live just the live music fix people need

  • Local concert promoters M.E. Productions will bring back liveentertainment to the Monadnock Region with ‘Drive-In Live’ at Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey, starting July 10. Courtesy photo

  • Local concert promoters M.E. Productions will bring back liveentertainment to the Monadnock Region with ‘Drive-In Live’ at Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey, starting July 10. Courtesy photo

  • Local concert promoters M.E. Productions will bring back liveentertainment to the Monadnock Region with ‘Drive-In Live’ at Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey, starting July 10. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/1/2020 4:14:53 PM

It has not been an easy couple of months for lovers of live music, musicians and music promoters. The concert scene came to a screeching halt due to COVID-19, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel – thanks to local concert promoters ME Productions.

Since mid-March, fans relegated to watching live streams of their favorite artists on Facebook and Instagram or old recordings of shows. ME Productions announced on Tuesday the creation of the Drive-In Live summer series at the Cheshire Fairgrounds beginning next Friday.

Co-organizer Mike Chadinha said the idea came up for the drive-in style series when they started seeing a similar practice in Europe. Then it came to the U.S. and it seemed like, if done right, it could provide an avenue to a live show.

“As long as we have the right safety rules in place, it will work well,” Chadinha said. “The biggest part is making sure people feel safe, people feel comfortable.”

Attendees can expect a full concert experience with festival sound, lights, video, and of course safe protocols in the age of social distancing. The series will take place every Friday and Saturday beginning July 10 through Oct. 10 in the south parking lot of the fairgrounds. Cars will have 10 feet of space between them, and will be parked in a staggered fashion for unobstructed views. Concert goers will be able to bring lawn chairs and sit in the empty spot to the left of their vehicle, while social distance drive-in theater guidelines set by the state will be enforced. 

“People are ready to see some music, but in a way where everybody feels safe,” Chadinha said.

Concertgoers are not required to wear masks in their cars or assigned tailgate area, however, guests are required to wear masks if leaving their space to use the restroom facilities. All event staff will be required to wear masks.

In an effort to streamline the experience, each show will be 90 minutes with no setbreaks. There will be bathrooms available and a sanitizing protocol in place, but there will be no concessions or merchandise sales.

As for the musicians, Chadinha said they are as ready for this as fans and organizers.

“People are definitely ready to get back to work, doing what they love to do,” he said.

Echoes of Floyd: A Pink Floyd Experience, which local fans will know as Space Force, will kick off the series on Friday, July 10 at 8 p.m. Meticulous in detail, Echoes of Floyd faithfully reproduces the iconic songs and albums from Floyd’s vast catalog. They will bring their intergalactic light and multi-media show, and play Dark Side of The Moon in its entirety, as well as other classic hits.

Blue Öyster Cult will rock the stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. BÖC occupies a unique place in rock history as one of very few hard rock/heavy metal bands to earn both genuine mainstream critical acclaim as well as commercial success. Their canon includes three stone‐cold classic songs that will waft through the cosmos long after the sun has burned out: The haunting “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” the pummeling “Godzilla” and the hypnotic “Burnin’ for You.”

The challenge with scheduling artists is that there are no tours going on right now, so the list of artists has been a bit limited.

“But there’s a lot of great musicians in the Northeast,” Chadinha said.

Maine’s own Ghost of Paul Revere will ride through on Friday, July 17. Ghost has been described as “not quite bluegrass, not quite country, not quite rock ‘n’ roll, but kind of all three combined.”

Almost Queen will rock the drive-in on Friday, July 24 with the most authentic Queen live music show since the days of Queen themselves.

Pink Talking Fish will energize the jam band crowd when they come through on Friday, July 31. A fusion of Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads, and Phish, their live shows are full of jamming and improvisation. Expect to be moving and grooving, albeit safely from your designated spot.

“People need music now more than ever,” said series director Seth McNally. “These are challenging times, and we’re excited that we can provide a safe way for folks to take a break from their hectic lives and experience live music again.”

And over the last few months, Chadinha has been hearing from a lot of people looking to get their live music fix.

“”I hear about it all the time,” he said. “People said ‘I’d love to see a show I don’t even like right now.’” But Chadinha is pretty sure people will enjoy this summer’s lineup.

More shows will be announced every week through social media, the series website and email blast, with the promise of some big names on the national scene to come. All shows begin at 8 p.m. with gates opening at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the announced shows range between $60 and $159 per vehicle with a five person maximum. More info, tickets and guidelines can be found at

And putting something on like this has consisted of a lot of moving parts and heightened emotions.

“It’s definitely all the feelings – excited, nervous,” Chadinha said.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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