COVID-19: Local drive-through concert chases the blues away for show-hungry fans

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“It’s special,” she said. “It’s lovely, I can bring my own food.”

She and her husband Joe Hill had a suggestion for similar future events: food trucks.

“I got tickets as soon as I read about it,” said Wendy Cherry.

“It’s a place to listen to music and be with people,” she added.

“Wendy is good at organizing us all to come. She brings us out, ”her friend Pamela Curran said.

“We’re going to everything, it’s horrible,” Cherry said of the month-long pandemic, which was declared a global emergency in March, forcing musicians to find new ways to reach fans.

Deborah Brown, Donna Kicks, Dean Baker and Carmen Alpaerts were delighted to attend the Cruise-In concerts at the Purple Hill Country Opry on Friday night near Thorndale. The region’s first gig since the COVID-19 shutdown featured Bill Durst, the Tim Woodcock Band with Cheryl Lescom and the Chris Trowell Band. (Derek Ruttan / The London Free Press)

Friday’s concert was headlined by Bill Durst who had heard of drive-in concerts in Europe. “I heard it was a drive-in. I thought it was a great idea, ”said the former Thundermug guitarist as he stood on stage as the afternoon shadows lengthened.

The show was the first time he had brought his blue heeled border collie cross with him to a concert. The black and white dog impatiently let off steam on the field before the show started at 7 p.m.

Curran admitted that she was perhaps Durst’s most enthusiastic fan. “I’m a little obsessed with him,” she said, but not in the “restraining order” genre.

The outdoor concert was the region’s first musical showcase since the arrival of the coronavirus in southwestern Ontario.

It was originally scheduled for two nights on July 10 and 11. The acts on the bill were initially split into a blues night on Friday and a country night on Saturday, but Saturday’s bill was canceled due to poor ticket sales.

Besides Durst, Friday’s acts included Cheryl Lescom with Tim Woodcock and The Chris Trowell Band.

The organizers have chosen to delay the cruise concert to allow music lovers to share their experience with their personal bubbles while ensuring physical distance. Rogers said his team worked with health unit officials in the weeks leading up to the concert to make sure the event was safe.

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