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2020 will be the summer of drive-in entertainment

PUBLISHED: 18:33 25 June 2020 | UPDATED: 07:42 26 June 2020

Taron Egerton in Rocketman is being screened this summer at a series of drive-in movies  Picture: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Taron Egerton in Rocketman is being screened this summer at a series of drive-in movies Picture: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Arts and live entertainment are still hard to come by as theatres cannot come out of lockdown but drive-ins could provide that live experience

Helmingham Hall will be hosting a series of drive-in movies this summer  Picture: PAMELA BIDWELLHelmingham Hall will be hosting a series of drive-in movies this summer Picture: PAMELA BIDWELL

Lockdown may be easing but theatre and concertgoing still isn’t happening and cinema will be playing to limited audiences because of the continued need for social distancing measures. But, the cultural community have got creative and there will still be safe events to attend this summer.

The heart of East Anglia’s cultural experience this year is going to be outdoors – so good weather is going to be essential. So what’s on this summer?

The Midsummer Drive Concerts

An artist's impression of the Utilita Drive-in stage at Newmarket this summer  Photo: Live NationAn artist's impression of the Utilita Drive-in stage at Newmarket this summer Photo: Live Nation

Lavenham Suffolk Pavilion Arena, Bridge Street Road, Lavenham, CO10 9GH

August 14-16, 2020

Live music is returning to Suffolk this summer courtesy of Suffolk promoter John Hessenthaler who is staging a series of gigs in Lavenham this August.

It’s a chance to escape the lockdown blues as part of a drive-in concert peformance. Strict Safety Guidelines are being implemented and these include either remaining sitting in your car or in your private picnic area located to the passenger side of your car. The next car then provides the required two metre plus social distancing spacing.

Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the films under consideration for the drive-in screenings at Trinity Park  Picture: FOXBohemian Rhapsody is one of the films under consideration for the drive-in screenings at Trinity Park Picture: FOX

Cars will be staggered in blocks for the best view. Also, to enhance the live sound audiences will be issued with brand new high quality headphones with the live music being transmitted from the stage PA system. This allows the volume to be controlled personally and causing no noise to nearby houses. Children will be allowed over eight years of age. In the event of inclement weather the car is close at hand and the music can continue.

Food will be allowed to be brought in your car but no alcohol. There will be a bar within the arena but drinks can only be ordered by phone and then will be delivered to your car. Bin liners will be issued upon your arrival and any rubbish should be taken away in your car at the end of the evening.

All days the gates open at 5pm. The show starts at 7pm and the show ends at 9.30pm.

The Robbie Gladwell Band featuring Harry Green will be performing on Friday August 14. Robbie Gladwell is well known in East Anglian music scene having been in bands since the 1970s. He will be bringing some special guests to appear at Suffolk’s first drive-in concert.

Robbie has played with numerous bands in the past 50 years is best known for playing lead guitar for Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. He has also played alongside many ’name’ artists, as well as having worked in sessions and toured with The Rolling Stones, BB King, Suzi Quatro, Percy Sledge, Little Eva and to have shared stages with Dave Gilmour and Tom Jones.

On Saturday August 15, A Crazy Little Thing Called Queen will be staging a Queen Greatest Hits show. Yvan Silva’s incredible vocal power and showmanship, along with some of the finest dedicated Queen tribute musicians, promise to deliver an unforgettable show, guaranteed to get you rocking out to Queen’s greatest hits.

The show includes Radio GaGa, I Want It All, Don’t Stop Me Now, One Vision, A Kind Of Magic, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, I Want To Break Free, Somebody To Love and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Crazy Little Thing Called Queen is a fully costumed, live extravaganza bringing a respectful homage to the incredible force that was Queen.

Finally on Sunday August 16, A Saucerful of Floyd will be bringing their Pink Floyd Show to Lavenham. Described as a show for Floyd fans, by Floyd fans this show is a tribute to the music of Britain’s greatest progressive rock band in sound and vision.

Incorporating a light show that will look great in this setting - this is the band’s most ambitious show yet, playing tracks from Pink Floyd’s massive back-catalogue, from the early magical days of founder Syd Barrett through to later iconic albums, renowned for their complex structures, such as Dark Side of The Moon.

For further information go to the website. Tickets can be booked by phone 01256 416384 or text 07795-387108 for a call back.

Drive-In Movies on Trinity Park

Pop Up Pictures, Trinity Park, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, IP3 8UH

July 16-19, 2020

Drive-in movies have come a long way since the 1950s when they were dominated by alien invasion B Pictures like The Day The Earth Stood Still and Creature From The Black Lagoon. Today drive-in movies provide sharp, crisp sound and vision and feature the very best blockbuster films.

You may also want to watch:

Pop Up Pictures are teaming up with Eclipse Light & Sound from Ipswich to offer 12 movies over the weekend of July 16-19, with screenings taking place on both LED screen for daylight viewing and a large projection screen for after dark.

Audience members are being asked to vote on the films they would like to see on the Pop Up Pictures Facebook page. The films under consideration include: The Greatest Showman, Rocket Man, Bohemian Rhapsody, Jurassic Park, Grease, A Star Is Born, Top Gun, Back to the Future, Mama Mia, Moulin Rouge, Toy Story and Dirty Dancing from a list of 74 titles.

Customers will tune into FM stereo’s or listen via headsets to hear the movies whilst remaining safely in their cars. A fully comprehensive health and safety plan to ensure social distancing will be in place.

Eating Street - A brand new street food market will also feature alongside the cinema where cinema customers and the general public can enjoy up to eight street food vendors offering food from around the world.

Ticket prices are per car not per person and start at £19.50, tickets go on sale Saturday morning at 10am.

The Star and Mouse Drive-in Movie Theatre

Helmingham Hall, Helmingham, Stowmarket IP14 6EF

July 4-19, 2020

Lights, camera, action! The Star & Mouse Drive In Movie Theatre is bringing some Hollywood glamour to one of Suffolk’s most impressive grand houses.

Helmingham Hall is promising a party atmosphere for this movie drive-in experience. Expect a little measure of Hollywood glitz and swagger right here in Suffolk. In addition to the movies there will be DJ sets, car bingo, quizzes, live music and food & drinks for a spot of pre-film entertainment before the film starts at sundown.

The three week line-up boasts a full house movie program of 80’s classics as well as introducing you to some newer blockbuster hits.

The movies are: Back to the Future (July 4), Dirty Dancing (July 5), Fast & the Furious (July 9), Rocketman (July 10), Ferris Buller’s Day Off (July 11), Knives Out (July 17), Grease (July 18), The Breakfast Club (July 19).

Utilita Live From The Drive-In

Newmarket Racecourse

August 3 to September 10 2020

Utilita Live From The Drive-In will see some of the biggest names in UK music perform live on stage backed by a full concert production, along with carefully curated family events for kids of all ages from West End theatre extravaganzas to interactive science shows, fun live music and DJs and some very well-known TV stars and characters from children television. These are yet to be announced and will be added to the schedule at a later date.

Among the confirmed live performances with more to be announced already include: Ash, Beverley Knight, Bjorn Again, Brainiac Live, Brand New Heavies, Dizzee Rascal, Embrace, Gary Numan, Jack Savoretti, Kaiser Chiefs, Lightning Seeds, Reggae Roast Vs Gentleman’s Dub Club, Russell Watson, Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, Sigala, Skindred, The Snuts, The Streets, The Zutons and Tony Hadley. Performance schedules can be found here.

Car Park Party: The Ultimate Drive-In Entertainment Experience

Chelmsford City Racecourse, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 1QP

July 31-August 1, 2020

Buckle up for the ultimate drive-in event that will feature music, theatre, comedy, kids entertainment and karaoke.

Car Park Party is promoting itself as a socially distanced and safe entertainment experience, a ‘drive-in’ event bringing together world renowned brands in comedy, karaoke and theatre and is coming to Chelmsford for multiple shows across two days from Friday July 31 to Saturday August 1.

Each day will hold a different experience showcasing Car Park Comedy, Car Park Karaoke and Car Park Theatre, something for all of the family and friends to enjoy. On Friday evening the entertainment comes from the UK’s top comedic talent, supplied by the world-famous Comedy Store, with the family in for a treat during the daytime on Saturday when Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain brings live theatre to racecourse car park. Saturday evening sees live music return to round off festivities with a spectacular sing-a-long concert from the Massaoke Band bringing two performances with ‘A Night At The Musicals’ and ‘Back To The Eighties’ – all to be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your own car.

There will be limited tickets for each show priced at £35 per car for comedy & karaoke and £30 per car for Theatre (£2.50 booking fee applies). Tickets are now on sale at the website.


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Through his business, he aims to build a conservation-based economy connecting visitors with Suffolk’s stunning countryside both digitally and physically through safaris and lectures. “I spend most of my time on safari in farmland habitat on the Shotley and Deben peninsulas,” he says. “This guiding season for Spirit of Suffolk started early March and I had several safari bookings as well as two photography workshops planned throughout March and April.” Philip was just one safari into the season – with one urban fox tour under his belt – with the business really taking off when lockdown measures were introduced on March 23, which meant he had to ditch his planned events. Lockdown hit him hard on a personal level too, he admits. “I always thought I would be able to head out to the countryside still, alone, and with caution. But as lockdown measures were introduced I realised this was not to be the case. “On a personal level this was deeply troubling as time spent in nature forms who I am as a person in both actions and spirit. “From a business perspective initially it felt shattering as I could not operate any of the core elements of the business, and to have started the season so spectacularly well with an amazing first safari and superb urban fox tour I really felt bad for the guests that had trips booked and were now not able to take them. “As a wildlife photographer but living in central Ipswich I also felt limited in what I could do photography-wise.” But he picked himself up and started working on his website and social media strategies. It was a “joy” to provide a vital connection with nature to people stuck at home, he said. “Early on in the lockdown I started a project called ‘On the Doorstep’ in which I would spend a little time each day stood on my doorstep and photograph the comings and goings of people.” The project now forms part of a cultural snapshot of Ipswich in 2020 collated by Suffolk Archives. He also used the downtime to create short books. The two titles – Suffolk Wildlife - A Photo Journey, and Spirit Bear - A True Story of Isolation and Survival – have been “very popular”, selling both in the UK and abroad. They even received an accolade from veteran environmentalist and wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough who described them as “delightful”. He has two more planned – the first of which is Bears and Hares, which is set to be followed by a collection of photo stories from the doorstep project. 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I think the lockdown period offered a different appreciation for the things around us and I am ever so excited to be with people again and to be showing them all the wonderful wildlife of my favourite spots in Suffolk.” He has had to adapt the tours to ensure safety, but the changes are subtle and don’t detract from the main goal - which is seeing nature, he says. “I now encourage the guest to bring along their own drink and snacks and to also bring their own pair of binoculars. We do wear face coverings while in the vehicle and with the windows open to ensure ventilation. Such changes have been well received by the safari guests and we continue to have some great wildlife viewing.” He’ll be “forever grateful” to his customers and guests for their support and understanding during the pandemic. “Recovery all depends on the current status of local restrictions and the virus itself. I am hoping that a vaccine can be in place as soon as possible. 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