By Kristine Cannon
A drive-in concert series is coming to WestWorld of Scottsdale.
R Entertainment and M Culinary, producers of the Scottsdale Fourth of July fireworks show, are working with the city to produce the Scottsdale Drive-In Concert Series.
The three-month, 10- to 20-show series is slated to kick off sometime this summer and run through September 7, according to plans submitted to the city on June 16.
As for the entertainment, attendees can expect performances from popular musicians, like Sublime with Rome and the Chainsmokers; comedians, like Bill Burr; and even podcasters, like Joe Rogan.
“These artists are actively in discussion to finalize their appearances this summer on a stage at WestWorld of Scottsdale,” an R Entertainment executive states in the submitted plans.
R Entertainment declined an interview, but a representative for the group told the Airpark News the schedule “is in development and will be announced when more details are available.”
According to the report, organizers anticipate about 500 cars per show.
Concertgoers will enjoy the performances from within their vehicles via FM transmitters provided by the organizers upon arrival and payment.
Admission would be tiered at $100, $200 and $300 per vehicle, “presumably depending on who is performing and the number of people in the vehicles,” the plans state.
“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak everywhere and California’s stay-at-home rules, event organizers predict this summer concert series will attract thousands of visitors on road trips to the Valley,” says Karen Churchard, city director of tourism and events.
Churchard says the organizers are working with Experience Scottsdale and many of their members to create “stay ‘n’ play” bundled packages.
They are also required through the agreement with the city—a title sponsor—to promote a minimum of 10 Scottsdale hotel properties.
“Though something like this has never been tried before, the organizers are veteran event planners and very experienced in producing conventional concerts,” Churchard says.
R Entertainment and M Culinary presented the Scottsdale Fourth of July event.
“Scottsdale Fourth of July in its ‘drive-in’ format was so delightful and in such demand that the team is even more excited to provide updates for the concert series, which would have a similar footprint,” R Entertainment’s rep says.
The sold-out Scottsdale Fourth of July show offered 20-by-20-foot spaces for vehicles instead of 12-by-20-foot spaces and required masks for staff and guests when outside their vehicle.
Scottsdale was one of few Valley cities that held a Fourth of July fireworks show.
Kerry Dunne, principal of R Entertainment and organizer of the event, noted before the event, “If we couldn’t do it socially distance safe with people in their cars and creating a safe area for every one of the cars that are coming to this, we would have never done it.”
R Entertainment and M Culinary also presented the drive-in virtual Garth Brooks concert at WestWorld on June 27.
The one-night-only show screened at 300 drive-in theaters, entertaining more than 350,000 fans nationwide.
Following that, they presented Blake Shelton with special guests Gwen Stefani and Trace Adkins at WestWorld on July 25.
Also screening at 300 select drive-ins, the one-night-only show featured all-new performances filmed exclusively for the event and included cinematic interviews and storytelling.
The event charged $114.99 per carload with no more than six people.
“This is such a great way to enjoy music with your family and friends and stay safe,” Shelton says.
“I’m excited we’re getting the chance to perform a concert for fans, and we’re going to go back and play old hits like ‘Austin,’ newer songs like ‘God’s Country,’ and we might even introduce something brand new!”
The Scottsdale Summer Concert Series will target 18- to 45-year-olds who love music, concertgoers, and residents of Southern California—a target market area for Experience Scottsdale.
“For 18- to 45-year-olds, this is tantamount to a prison sentence,” the R Entertainment executive says. “There is major pent-up demand among this group, and we propose to be their escape valve this summer.”
Churchard adds that concert series, “if successful, should be a boost for Scottsdale’s sluggish summer economy.”
To supplement the organizers’ marketing, public relations and artist outreach budget, the city approved a $50,000 transfer to the Tourism and Events Department operating budget.
“As always, it is difficult to assess a first-time event, especially one as unique as this. The Tourism Development Commission and city council approval of funding shows their trust in the event producers’ ability to draw and market top-notch entertainers,” Churchard says.
The hope is to turn first-time visitors into return visitors.
“By producing a compelling series of popular music, comedy and podcaster events, we can target market and draw these fans from California to Scottsdale all summer long. It would be a reverse of what normally happens when ‘Zonies’ flock to California in the summer,” the R Entertainment executive says.