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West End star Gareth Gates headlines summer drive-in festival

PUBLISHED: 12:24 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:18 14 July 2020

Gareth Gates who is appearing at The Drive-In Experience at Thetford and Chelmsford  Photo: Drive-in Experience

Gareth Gates who is appearing at The Drive-In Experience at Thetford and Chelmsford Photo: Drive-in Experience

Archant

Cinema and live entertainment is heading outdoors this summer. Drive-in is the new night out and across Suffolk and East Anglia a new type of open-air festival is being staged so people can have fun times after months of being shut in and locked down.

An artist's impression of the layout of The Drive-In Experience at Stonham Barns, Thetford and ChelmsfordAn artist's impression of the layout of The Drive-In Experience at Stonham Barns, Thetford and Chelmsford

The Drive-In Experience will be at outdoor locations near Stowmarket, Thetford and Chelmsford, and will run from July 30 through to September 6. It will offer live music, comedy, movies, laser shows and interactive games, as well as showcasing popular musical acts, artists and DJs, with ex-Pop Idol and West End star Gareth Gates headlining at two dates in Thetford and Chelmsford.

Those attending will watch entertainment on a performance stage and a huge high-tech hi-res LED screen from the comfort and security of their own cars, safe in their own bubbles with family or friends, while audio is delivered via FM frequency through car radios. All events will be run in line with strict Covid-19 social distancing guidelines.

The tour has been set up by East Anglian-based promoter Elliot White of Out of Space Events who said: “We want our events to deliver a fun-packed day of entertainment for everyone involved; our goal is to bring people together to enjoy unique experiences and create fond memories with families and friends whilst helping create sustainable employment opportunities for future generations to come.”

There will be four days of packed programmes at each location, running every day from noon through to 11pm. Each day’s events will start from 12-2pm with a family movie or games, ideal for families with younger children; then from 3.30pm to 4.45pm there will be a live tribute band/music act, and into the evening from 6.30pm to 8pm live comedy combined with a DJ set; and then from 9.30pm to 11pm more live music or a movie. This late session will be compèred by a talented host and is expected to have a real festival party atmosphere.

Wrong Jovi who are appearing at The Drive-In Experience  this summer Photo: Drive-in ExperienceWrong Jovi who are appearing at The Drive-In Experience this summer Photo: Drive-in Experience

The Drive-In Experience venues are at Stonham Barns near Stowmarket from July 30 to August 2; Euston Park outside Thetford from August 20 to 23 and Sandy Brook Fields in Chelmsford from September 3 to 6.

The entertainment will see appearances by live music acts including Kelly Llorenna formerly of N-Trance, Rozalla, Dario G, Urban Cookie Collective and Daft Funk Live, and other tribute acts covering the music of David Bowie, Beyonce and Bruno Mars as well as OASIS Maybe, Wrong Jovi and Kings of Lyon.

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Singing star and recording artist Gareth Gates, who starred in musicals such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Les Misèrables and Legally Blonde after coming to prominence in the 2002 Pop Idol competition, will headline the 3.30pm show at Thetford on Sunday August 23, and the 9pm show at Chelmsford on Saturday September 5.

An artist's impression of the layout of The Drive-In Experience at Stonham Barns, Thetford and ChelmsfordAn artist's impression of the layout of The Drive-In Experience at Stonham Barns, Thetford and Chelmsford

The movie offering will range from children’s favourites such as Mary Poppins Returns, The Lego Movie 2 and Sonic The Hedgehog, to blockbusters like Mamma Mia, Rocketman, Back To The Future and Grease.

There will also be interactive fun with an inventive take on TV game shows, pub quizzes and quickfire party games, with giveaways and prizes; while live laughs will come from acts such as hip-hop parody comic Mr B, Britain’s Got Talent comedian Ben Langley and comedy act The Squirrels; and exciting YouTube sensation Tiny Tim.

Social distancing measures will be in place at each location and will also enable event goers to watch the show from outside of their cars if they want to bring picnic chairs. Local food and drink providers will be on hand with orders either available for collection or delivered safe and securely straight to vehicles. The venues will be cash-free and all payments and ticketing will be contactless.

Handwashing stations and toilet facilities with clear safety messaging will also be in place with social distancing measures monitored by on-site staff.

Mr B who is appearing at The Drive-In Experience Photo: Drive-in ExperienceMr B who is appearing at The Drive-In Experience Photo: Drive-in Experience

Mr White said: “The Drive-In Experience was created to bring a wide selection of entertainment to people who in challenging times want to come together and escape the monotony of everyday life to enjoy valuable times with friends and family in a safe and relaxed environment.

“Our giant LED video wall will be one of the main attractions for these unique, state of the art, interactive takes on the ever popular Drive In events. These entirely contact-free performances will contribute in helping restart live events all around the country whilst adhering to government social distancing guidelines.”

Tickets for each session cost £35 per car for up to five occupants, with additional occupants charged at £5 extra per person.

To buy tickets and for details of the programme for all sessions at each location, please the website


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