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Drive-In Events & Raves: 13 Essential Tips

2020 saw the cancellation of live events for the foreseeable future. With the massive hit of the Coronavirus, event producers looked for ways to adapt and sustain their businesses as much as possible. This saw the rise of the Drive & Rave concept, leading to the birth of some creative ways of having fun while staying safe and socially distant. You would be able to view the show from the car with your friends, while safely distancing yourself from everyone else. Germany held the first ever drive-in rave on the night of May 1, 2020. The rave took place in the car park of Club Index in Schüttorf and saw a turnout of around 500 participants in 250 cars.

The crowd gave feedback and responded to the DJ’s cues by pushing their horns and flashing their lights in time to the music. Fireworks, lasers and smoke were all part of this incredible night. So, if you’re a passionate raver, or even simply curious about how this concept works, below are 13 essential tips and all you need to know about drive-in raves.

So let’s get right to it!

Photo Credit: Insomniac

1. Tickets For Friends

Tickets for these drive-in events are priced per car, which means that one ticket accommodates up to 5 people! If you have a larger van, you can bring up to 8 people (or the legal number allowed in your car) and must pay for the additional passengers of course. You are encouraged to only attend with people in your quarantine community, for obvious safety reasons, so choose your crew wisely. The cost of attending is pretty cheap considering the circumstances and it helps create a positive vibe within your close bubble of friends, which is a much-needed thing in our self-isolating times.

Oversized vehicles such as large vans, buses, campers, RVs, and limousines are not permitted entry. Raised or elevated vehicles are also not permitted.


2. Your Designated Space

When you purchase a ticket for a drive in rave, you are actually given 2 spots: a spot for your vehicle, and then a spot for you to dance in. So basically, you’re not confined to your car, you have your own private dance floor which makes being able to dance a lot better. When we’re raving we do definitely want to dance, and now you’ve got all the space to do it without bumping into strangers and feeling claustrophobic or suffocating while moving around. Unlike being in a crowded festival, here you have the space to hoop, fan, staff, etc. without hitting someone in the face!


3. Get There Early

At these show, spots are filled on a first-come first-serve basis, starting from the middle of each row towards the sides. This means that the earlier you arrive, the closer you will be to the center. Some of these festivals are also divided into General Admission and VIP sections. Notably, the VIPs will get early access to their parking spots but the general idea still stands: you need the best spots and being there early will guarantee you find them.

The music isn’t as loud on the outskirts since there are more speakers located towards the middle. Late arrivals are not permitted; you don’t want to miss the first act, anyway!


4. Make Sure Your Car’s Sound System is Good

The volume of the stage is not what you’re probably used to. And that’s fine. Some festivals have developed a way where people can tune into a station from their car radio in order to listen to the music, this coupled with some sound system at the venue makes it a nice way to enjoy the music.

Getting all the music from car radio seems quite weak at first, but it still probably is better than staying at home and people eventually will get used to it. Keep in mind that the closer you are to the front, the louder it will be. So again, being there early will pay off. It will feel similar to a normal concert, very hype.

You will enjoy yourself and it will feel like a music festival.


5. Dress & Decorate

This will definitely help put you in the mood. Like any other rave or festival, you should 100% dress up! It’s time to pull out those jerseys, bodysuits, booty shorts, face gems, and GLITTER!

On the other hand, you’ve got your own space, so you’re allowed to bring lawn chairs and inflatable couches and are also encouraged to decorate your space! How cool is that?

Christmas lights, banners, signs, flags, totems, beer pong tables, flowers, plants, whatever will make your space feel like home, bring it! It feels even more exciting to get creative and make a whole theme of your personal area, the car and your outfits.

By taking all of these things into consideration, you can plan for an experience that will be just as good as the big-scale festivals, but don’t forget a stylish mask no matter what you’re wearing and how you’re decorating (P.S. masks will be required, so choose a good one).

6. Bring Your Own Food & Drinks

A cooler will be your best friend and this will be an area where you can save a lot of money.Regular festivals overprice the snacks and drinks, but at the drive-in raves, things are very different.

Remember to bring lots of water, as well as any other beverages of choice. There will not be any alcohol being served which makes it awesome for you to shop at regular alcohol prices and pack your own bottles and 6-packs (Note that glass is prohibited, so make sure to bring plastic or aluminum). And here’s another great tip: The venue will most probably sell ice if you run out or forget! (so far there are a lot of positive points to the Drive-in rave)

On another hand, there will not be any water stations, so it is up to you to stay hydrated and we highly recommend that you do.

Need that special snack or to nibble on, or craving a unique delicious treat? You can now pack all that up! Sealed snacks and outside food are allowed, so bring a whole pizza if you like!


7. Environmental Impact

Drive-ins as everyone knows bring together some 400 to 600 cars into one area, and so people should expect an increase in air pollution because of all the NO2 released from the cars. “Traffic pollution contains a number of harmful substances. Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is a noxious gas found in exhaust fumes that has been linked to asthma and birth complications. Particulate matter is another form of air pollution that’s like a fine dust, shed during combustion in the engine or from the wear and tear of brakes. ” as stated in a recent article regarding Drive-Thru pollution in the pandemic.

Scientists have found that hospital admissions for COVID-19 tend to flare up where air pollution is most severe, as chronic exposure to airbone pollutants can make people more vulnerable. The hidden health consequences of air pollution should not be ignored and with drive-in raves, people are being exposed to hundreds of cars in one little space.

On another hand, people who attend should take into consideration that they should clean up their area before leaving at the end of the event, and make sure trash and decoration aren’t left on site.

8. Curiosity Drove Initial Sales

We honestly believe that after a few weeks of lockdown and mass cancellations of all the major world events, people were genuinely hungry to get out and release some energy and enjoy a little normalcy. So curiosity did drive a lot of the initial sales to these drive-in events.

On the other hand, different people came back with their own reactions and interpretations based on their experiences. Some decided these types of shows are not for them and they would wait things out calmly and not attend any drive-in shows anymore. While others found it to be a great way to get out of their weekly isolation and have some much-needed fun. With this, the number of people buying into these shows dropped and it’s all very normal.

Artists and crowds are finding new ways to interact at these events. At a 250-car drive-in rave held earlier this year in Germany, lasers and fire cannons accompanied a pounding set by DJ Devin Wild, who produced a track called Smash Your Horn just for the occasion. “People were smashing their horns, and sometimes you’d see fists pumping through the windows,” Wild says, noting that “some people had trouble staying in their cars.” (at the time of this event, people were not allowed outside their cars).

“I kept hearing from people about how bad they needed this,” says Ben Ballinger, a folk singer-songwriter who threw a 25-car drive-in show in an open field in Austin, Texas, on May 7, 2020.

9. Some People Will Not Always Follow The Rules

Now here’s the flip side: not all people will follow the rules. Sometimes even the event promoters will not be as vigilant in enforcing the social distancing rules which is a problem. You risk getting infected and also infecting others who might be vulnerable. Why would you want to cause someone this much pain and have them or yourself face the possibility of death just for a fun moment at a drive-in festival? It’s just dumb.

It is totally understandable that you need to get your festival fix and release some this pent-up frustration, but be smart and vigilant about it. Safety is a top priority and people should be smart about attending these events.

Photo Credit: Insomniac

10. Some Organizers Have On-Site Teams To Help

Whether you face sudden issues with your car, want to safely go to the bathroom or want to make sure you’re partying safely, major organizers have been providing people with all the possible help they can. Teams are available on site to help with technical issues you might face with your car, sanitizing stations are scattered throughout the event locations and employees are regularly making sure the restrooms and public areas are being sanitized on a regular basis.

You will find cops and security on site, whether it was to make sure people are abiding by the general rules or to also avoid any drunk driving issues, everything is being put in place for people to enjoy a safe and fun event. There will be a group of people going through the cars to make sure attendees are being smart about their partying and are social distancing and keeping with the regulations. Of course, they can’t force everyone to keep abiding all the time and some will break the rules as one would expect. Not all people will follow the rules all the time and that’s the risk here and repercussions are on them.


11. Hatchbacks Have An Advantage

Although the bigger trucks and RVs are not allowed, hatchbacks do have an advantage. We suggest not going with a car that would block the view for others. You want to be able to enjoy your time and drive into and out of the event easily without any issues.


12. It Is A Fun Way To Release Some Tension

As dance music fans, we feel trapped even more when we go months without any events and attending festivals. These drive-in events have been a great way to socialize within our safe bubble and enjoy live music safely, until we have the chance to get back to how things were pre-pandemic.

Since we’re encouraged to only attend with our immediate quarantine community, we won’t be able to make as many friends as we would at a normal festival. But as long as you had your rave squad, it’s all good!


13. Be Smart About Your Space, Your Drinking & Interacting With Others

Upon arriving at the festival, you’ll find a line of cars to get in. Friendly staff members will check IDs, glance at your trunk, and quickly scan your tickets. Then you’ll follow the path towards the stage. Organizers will have the designated areas for each car marked off by rails, cones, and tape. Staying within your space and avoiding close interactions with others will help make it a successful event and help keep things going for the businesses who rely on them to make ends meet.

On another note, make sure you have a designated driver who will stay sober during the event, this will avoid drinking and driving accidents and potential issues while coming back from the event.

The rave and festival community is known to be a very friendly one. Many look forward to making new friends and dancing with strangers at live events. Unfortunately, until there is a vaccine and the pandemic is declared over, ravers will have to be confined to their quarantine bubble and stay a bit more distant than usual. But hey, it’s only temporary and we all expect coming back from this stronger and ever more passionate about the music and festivals!

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