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Drive-in theaters hosting Blake Shelton concert
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Drive-in theaters hosting Blake Shelton concert


GIBSON CITY — In the age of a pandemic, being able to do your job can be difficult for many, including popular country acts like Blake Shelton.

Instead of gathering his fans together for several shows, Shelton will be seen on the silver screen for an on-screen concert event Saturday, July 25, at nearly 300 drive-in theaters around the country. Harvest Moon Drive-In in Gibson City will host the local concert.

“It’s just not live, in person, on stage,” said Ben Harroun, manager of the local Harvest Moon Drive-in. “It’s essentially as if you were right there, they were going through the songs, interacting with the crowd in between.”

Shelton has made popular songs such as “Austin” and “God's Country.” Joining him on stage will be guests Gwen Stefani and Trace Adkins. The opening act will be country musicians Parmalee.

Tickets will need to be purchased online. The ticket, at $114.99, is per car load with a maximum occupancy of six. “It’s a great value,” Harroun said.

Harroun said hosting a concert in this format is a good idea. “Most drive-ins in the United States are located in rural areas where we’re basically far away from anything large,” he said.

Gibson City is approximately 1 hour, 10 minutes northeast of Decatur. It's also an hour away from larger cities, including Peoria, Bloomington, and Champaign. “We’re really far from where you see the big acts,” Harroun said.

Popular groups, such as Shelton, often perform as part of festivals, many of which have been cancelled. Drive-ins allow fans the opportunity to see a show using social distancing.

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“It’s the best possible place to be,” Harroun said. “Any live performance where you go, there’s going to be large amounts of people. It’s not going to be a safe environment with the current COVID-19 pandemic going on.”

Drive-in theaters are ideal for social distancing. Each vehicle parked at Harvest Moon Drive-in is approximately 12 feet apart, according to Harroun. Staff at the venue are also following the Center for Disease Control guidelines. They have designated employees at each food stand area. Customers are also allowed to bring their own food and drink for a fee.

Hand sanitizers are located throughout the venue.

Harroun said he was concerned for his business at the beginning of the season. After the theater was allowed to open to the public, the crowds arrived.

“Now we’re actually back to a place where it feels almost the same as if it were a typical July season,” Harroun said. “And this is a nice little way to get live music, more or less, that you’ve never seen before as an exclusive performance.”

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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


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