The Malvern theater is transforming its parking lot to bring live music to area residents during the pandemic.
Back in March, when the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping the United States, many businesses ground to a halt. Now, four months later, nonprofit Malvern theater People’s Light is reviving its live performances with a drive-in concert series, which runs from mid-July through August.
The drive-in concerts, spanning 75-90 minutes each, will take place in the theater’s large parking lot on six weekends in July and August. Local artists are slated to perform in the first three shows, which launched last week. Singer-songwriter Jeffrey Gaines, with opener Valentina Sounds, will take the stage on July 25, and alternative folk group John Byrne Band headlines the show on Aug. 1. Funk, jazz, rock and soul-inspired Ill Doots will perform on Aug. 8, followed by Colebrook Road on Aug. 14, and the Greg Sover Band on Aug. 21..
While it’s not the normal theatrical performances audiences have come to expect at People’s Light, the organizers hope the concert series will bring a sense of normalcy back to the community, while keeping people safe. “It feels really natural to have this kind of event in this neck of the woods again,” says Chaz Brastow, director of production at People’s Light. “We wanted to give [people] an offering that felt safe for them, safe for staff, safe for the artists. Each of those needs are different, but no one is going to enjoy it if no one feels comfortable.”
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Musicians, too, are glad to play in front of crowds again. “We’re trying to keep artists employed,” adds Brastow, noting that People’s Light has also been hosting virtual hootenannies and a Porch Songs series to support local musicians. “The need of a performer to play is strong—they hadn’t played since March, either.”
With the launch of this new format, People’s Light is already planning other similar events, including Folk Tales in the Garden for younger audiences, beginning July 29.
In accordance with state health guidelines, People’s Light will enforce a maximum capacity of 250 attendees or about 50 cars in the lot. Admission is $75 per car and includes a parking space for the vehicle and an adjacent space where guests can set up chairs to enjoy the show. Cars are limited to five attendees, not including children under the age of 12. Shows kick off at 6:30 p.m., and the lot will open an hour in advance. Concert-goers can also pre-order food and drinks from The Farmhouse at People’s Light, which will be delivered to their cars.
39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, (610) 644-3500.