Drive-in and virtual events are providing an ‘escape’ from the pandemic

Cal State LA students and faculty share their drive-in and virtual event experiences.

Entrance sign for Insomniac’s Electric Mile drive-thru experience. Image taken by Tahiti Salinas.

Tahiti Salinas, Editor-in-Chief

Companies have adapted to the changes brought on by the pandemic by creating events that can be experienced from the safety of a car.

Events like Electric Mile, Stranger Things: The Drive-Into Experience and Haunt’oween LA Halloween are just the tip of the iceberg of drive-thru experiences. Drive-in concerts, varying from DJs to artists, have also encouraged people to get out and attend. Even livestreamed concerts have been made accessible to those who would like to enjoy the music of their favorite artists from home.

In an informal Instagram story poll of 158 voters, the UT found that 31% have attended a drive-in or drive-thru event, while 69% have not.

Of those who have attended, grad student and social work major Karina Gaytan said she has gone to Electric Mile, the Stranger Things drive-thru, and Urban Legends Haunt. While they were each different in their own way, Gaytan said she still enjoyed them all.

“The Halloween one [Urban Legends Haunt] was a little slower. It was still fun. It just didn’t compare to Stranger Things or the Electric Mile,” said Gaytan.

Of the three, she said her favorites were the Electric Mile and Stranger Things drive-thrus because Urban Legends Haunt was more expensive and a short drive-thru experience. Although she has never gone to a rave, Gaytan said that Electric Mile definitely encouraged her to one day go to one.

“I can only imagine how a real rave is but I thought this one was fun, quick and I got a taste of what it could be,” added Gaytan.

Cristian Riesgo, a recent Cal State LA graduate and an avid festival-goer before the pandemic, said he heard of the drive-thru events and wanted to go to one but was unable to attend any of them because of his busy work schedule.

“For the most part, a lot of these events are great. I think it shows off how creative people can be making sure that things can still get done while trying to be as safe as possible,” said Riesgo. “It’s great because it also makes a lot of these events accessible for more people who might have otherwise not been able to go for whatever reason.”

Although some music festivals are starting to plan events for this year, Riesgo said that he still doesn’t know how soon he’d be comfortable with attending in-person events since it is hard to maintain safety guidelines.

“I’m definitely looking forward to them,” said Riesgo. “Once things kind of start to look up a little more, more people are vaccinated and the restrictions and guidelines ease up a little bit, I’m definitely looking forward to going back. I missed music festivals a lot.”

Riesgo added that he had a great experience watching “Tenet” at a drive-in movie theater and would “definitely recommend” it.

“The drive-in gives people a similar experience to sitting in the theater while still offering a certain level of comfort,” said Riesgo. “Not only because you can stay in your own car/space, but especially now during the pandemic, you don’t have to be exposed to people if you’re uncomfortable being around them.”

On the other hand, director of bands and associate professor Emily Moss had not heard of these drive-thru experiences but through her daughters, she heard of DJs livestreaming performances.

“People are desperate for something that’s different and interesting,” said Moss. “It’s a good thing. It allows people to escape and do something that’s different.”

Moss added that she would not attend these events because she’d still be stuck in a car and what she misses the most is the feeling of being there in person.

“What I am longing for and yearning for is that connection with other people where you have a shared experience,” said Moss.

Through the pandemic, Moss said she has also seen how the creativeness of music has changed: “More and more people are doing livestreamed events, where they are able to create the music on their own or in their own studios.”

Moss added that Cal State LA music classes have also had to adapt to the difficulty of online music classes.

“Our commercial music ensemble can essentially put together an album, where each person is playing their particular track vocals, drums, guitar, in their own home,” said Moss. “You create both a video, audio and visual experience of that. Then, you can Facebook live it or put it on some other platform where people can view it.”

Moss added that because they livestream the concerts on Facebook, family members of the students who may not be able to attend or simply live far away, can watch the concerts.