The Drive-In: Germany’s D-Live Rediscovers The Venue Of The Moment


The Drive-In

Germany’s D-Live rediscovered the venue of the moment

Navigating live events since March, has been tough for every link in the live entertainment supply chain. Those who managed to put on events not only gave audiences much-needed cultural experiences but also provided work for the industry, supported adjacent businesses and offered many a semblance of normalcy. Drive-in theaters were one of the earliest venue solutions to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed internationally. While a stampede of drive-in events came to market this year, one of the earliest pioneers of the format was D.Live straight out of Dusseldorf Germany.

What was particularly impressive about D.Live’s drive-in concept were the 100,000 visitors who saw more than 90 events as well as the range of of events that took place at Autokino Düsseldorf. The highest-grossing show, according to Pollstar’s box-office reports, was a concert by German singer Pietro Lombardi, who sold all of the 1,050 tickets available for vehicles, generating $64,253.

But the drive-in theater also hosted weddings, church services, an opera gala, pole vaulting, boxing, DJ sessions and, in line with the venue’s original purpose, film screenings.

D.Live CEO Michael Brill said it was the right decision to show an immediate reaction after the first lockdown in Germany and develop drive-in concepts.

“The media presence revealed the emergency situation our trade is in, (and) we were able to continue to provide an attractive cultural offering to our community. We were able to continue to fully employ most of our team,” Brill said, adding that what moved him the most was the reaction of artists: “The possibility to perform gave them hope and confidence.”

Going forward it will be important to stay focused, according to Brill, who said, “We see a danger in that corona may affect the demand (for live experiences). Let’s be there for our audience!”

In the U.S., drive-in shows popped up at actual drive-ins as well as venue parking lots. Live Nation presents a series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia that produced the top grossing drive-in show of the summer, according to Pollstar numbers: a two-night stand by indie pop group AJR that brought in almost $325,000.

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