A new approach for live entertainment here in Jersey
While every entity has been affected by the virus, one of the hardest hit has been the entertainment industry. Performers who normally would add great entertainment to restaurants and bars were shut down because of the crush on the hospitality industry.
Major theatres and entertainment venues were darkened and full schedules of great bands and performers were wiped clean. Since the end of March I personally have had 43 scheduled shows, concerts and appearances cancelled. My good friends in the music and comedy business have been devastated, some may never recover.
New Jersey is second to none in entertainment, music venues, and a proponent of all kinds of music. New Jersey thrives on entertainment, so the difficulty became apparent on how to salvage a very quiet summer and try to recoup some of the major losses that theatres and performers have experienced.
Enter a great idea by The Count Basie Theatre and Monmouth Park, the two heritage entertainment venues combined forces and decided to try an old school concept with drive-in concerts.
The first was held a couple of weeks ago with Southside Johnny. Fans starved for live entertainment sold out the venue within a few hours with over 900 cars at an average of $150 a car. The concert by all counts was successful and the crowd seemed to leave happy after Southside was his talented self in putting on another great show.
I talked to Johnny after the show and he thought it was strange but very cool. A promoter has been putting together a few more shows that included comedian Jim Gaffigan who sold out his concert at Monmouth Park in a few hours and close to 1000 cars enjoyed his very funny show. You can see his reaction in the clip above.
In Monmouth Park there is a restaurant Blu Grotto that has an expansive backyard that accommodates hundreds of people and a stage. There will be live music out there every weekend with plenty of room for social distancing. This is all a creative way to keep music alive here in New Jersey. If you get the chance you should check it out, some great entertainment is planned for August and into September. Bring a mask! You can’t keep Jersey entertainment down for too long!