Drive In (And Out Of Lockdown)

As lockdown eases and we head into a “new normal” we’re having to face things differently. Entertainment, the arts and hospitality are a particular challenge as they generally take place indoors, but car-based options are emerging.

Luna Drive In at Allianz Park

We’ve already seen images of the long queues for drive-through fast food outlets, however, drive-in cinema and live performances viewed from your car are rather more attractive. Luna Cinema has been offering open-air screenings for a number of years at local venues like Ally Pally and Hatfield House and this year, with social distancing requirements, from July they are offering drive-in cinemas. Helpfully for us in Barnet, their London venue is Allianz Park in Mill Hill, with Knebworth House being another option if you fancy a longer drive.

Although you are restricted to your car, technology has evolved so that you have a wireless speaker that sits on the dashboard (sanitised between uses) for digital quality sound which won’t cause flat batteries. Food and drink will also be available. You can pre-order online with your tickets or use your smart phone to order on the night. These are delivered to your car by staff on roller skates or scooters and left on the bonnet of the car to ensure the process is contactless.

If you need to leave your car to use toilet facilities, large walkways will allow to do this minimizing contact with other people. The loos themselves are positioned at least two-metres apart and are cleaned and sanitized regularly, with plenty of hand sanitizing facilities. Staff will use PPE throughout. Screenings are two or three a day and feature a broad range of popular choices and you can check here for details.

Drive In Film Club at Alexandra Palace

The Rooftop Film Club is also operating this new drive in at Ally Pally with the same distancing protocols. It is accessed from South Terrace near the Ice Rink car park and, although food and drink are available served by roller-skating staff to your car, you are welcome to take your own. Check website for programme and full details.

Films, Comedy, Music and More

A varied live programme is at The Drive-In Club in Brent Cross and Dagenham with impressive line ups for the summer featuring comedy acts and DJ sets (by Edith Bowman and Craig Charles) as well as kids’ events like The Sooty Show, Basil Brush, Rastamouse and Dick and Dom. Comedy acts include Bill Bailey, Dom Joly, Shappi Khorsandi, Jason Manford, Adam Kay, Omid Djalili and Jonathan Pie.

Further round the A406 in Edmonton, The Drive In at Troubadour Meridian Water has comedy nights and live music as well as cinema screenings. It is run in a similar way following all the strict protocols, whereby you stay in your car, although here sound comes through your car radio. There’s a licensed bar and a selection of food stalls selling classic movie snacks for ordering online with things are brought directly to your car in a contact-free way. The toilet facilities have restricted entry and you need to maintain a two-metre-distance in queues. You can find more details here.

Colesdale Farm in Northaw is hosting Livenation Utilita Live From The Drive-In: London concerts and events with live music and family shows with some big-name acts. Check website for details of events coming up in August and early September.

Something else to look out for is @TheDriveIn touring the country with range of events for people to enjoy in their cars. @thedrivein will be coming to South London in early July and East London in late September (venues to be confirmed). These events are set to include comedy, car caraoke, family games, silent car disco, bingo and more.

Prices are generally from £35 per car. The Drive-In Club: from £44 per car for kids’ shows and £60+ per car for comedy. As the situation is rather fluid, it’s worth joining mailing lists or liking Facebook pages to stay up-to-date. With options currently so limited, you don’t want to miss out.

Image courtesy of Luna Cinema

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