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.”
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.
“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.”
29 celebrities with Decatur ties
29 celebrities from Decatur
Gary Forrester, a New Zealand-Australia based musician, composer and poet who was profiled as one of the major figures in the Australian music scene during the 1980s and 1990s, was born in Decatur and grew up in the Effingham, Quincy and Tuscola areas.
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Jenny Lou Carson
Jenny Lou Carson, originally known as Lucille Overstake of the Three Little Maids, was born and raised in Decatur. She went on to write "You Two-Time Me One Time Too Often," which was the first top country hit written by a woman. She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association Hall of Fame in 1971.
June Christy, an American singer hailed as "one of the finest and most neglected singers of her time," was known for her work in the cool jazz genre. She was born in Springfield in 1925 and moved with her family to Decatur when she was 3.
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Brian Culbertson, an American contemporary jazz/R&B/funk musician, has written and produced over 25 No. 1 contemporary smooth singles on the R&R, Gavin and Billboard Radio charts. He was born and raised in Decatur.
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Howard Warren Buffett
A graduate from Mount Zion High School, Howard Warren Buffett currently is a faculty member at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and was previously a policy adviser in the Executive Office of the President of the United States under President Barack Obama.
Steve Hunter, born and raised in Decatur, is an American guitarist best known for his collaborations with Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Bette Midler and Meat Loaf.
Richard Peck is an American novelist who was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel "A Year Down Yonder".
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- Online: Author shares words of wisdom with Dennis students
Icon for Hire
Icon for Hire, formed in 2007 in Decatur, is an American rock band that has had two Billboard-charting albums.
CeCe Frey is a pop singer from Mount Zion who finished sixth place on seasontwo of "The X-Factor."
Charles Earl Boles
Known as Black Bart, this English-born outlaw lived in Decatur during the 1860s before becoming one of the most notorious stagecoach robbers to operate in and around Northern California and Southern Oregon in the 1870s and 1880s.
Homer 'Boots' Randolph
Best known for his 1963 saxophone hit "Yakety Sax", "Boots" Randolph played with the Dink Welch's Kopy Kats in Decatur from 1948-1954.
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- Online: Sax legend 'Boots' Randolph, who started in Decatur, dies at 80
Herbert Dickens Ryman
Herbert Dickens Ryman, who grew up in Decatur, was an artist and Disney Imagineer who drew the first illustrations of Walt Disney's vision of a theme park that eventually became Disneyland. His filmography includes Art Director of Fantasia and Dumbo.
- Newspaper clipping: Herbert Ryman, formerly of Decatur, is artist for movie industry
- Newspaper clipping: Herbert Ryman named MU Alumnus of Year for 1976
RonReaco Lee is a television and film actor best known for his roles as Tyreke Scott on "Sister, Sister" and Jamal Woodson the BET romantic comedy "Let's Stay Together." He was born in Decatur.
- Newspaper clipping: Child actor got start in Decatur
David Joyner, best known for his role as Barney, was born in Decatur and graduated from MacArthur High School in 1981.
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- Online: Energetic David Joyner a natural TV talent as Barney, Hip Hop Harry
Historian Stephen Ambrose, born in Decatur and raised in Lovington, was the best-selling author of books about Lewis and Clark and World War II.
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Howard Graham Buffett
Businessman and philanthropist Howard G. Buffett was the Corporate Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman of Archer Daniels Midland from 1992 - 1995 and is the founder of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. He currently resides in Decatur.
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Most recently known for her worked on Clint Eastwood's "Changeling," Decatur-born Kerri Randles also opened the first ever Hollywood Fringe Festival with her one-woman show "Can't you Hear Me Knockin?"
Musican-actor John Doe, born in Decatur, paved the way for alternative rock with his band X before turning to acting in movies such as "Great Balls of Fire!" and "Boogie Nights".
- Newspaper clipping: Name shields relatives
Eisenhower alumni Bill "Mad Dog" Madlock, Jr. was a right-handed hitter who won four National League batting titles and is one of only three right-handed hitters to have won multiple National League batting titles since 1960.
- Newspaper clipping: Always a hit, Decatur's Madlock keeps in swing with business, work for Cubs
- Newspaper clipping: Pirates a bit better in East: Madlock
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Freddy Krueger, the world's No. 1 professional water ski jump champion, was born and grew up in Decatur.
James W. Loewen
James Loewen, a sociologist, historian and author best known for his book, "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong," was born in Decatur and was a 1960 graduate of MacArthur High School as well as a national merit scholar.
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- Online: Fallstrom: Scholar Loewen recalls school days in Decatur
- Online: Critics challenge author's research methods in compiling book on racism in 'Sundown Towns'
Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR
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