Local funk band DTW spends most summers serenading flocks of Corvallis residents with its unique tunes. This year, with restrictions on large groups due to COVID-19, the band has had little opportunity to share its sound with the community. So, the members had to get creative. The result: Cruise Fest – a combination of an old-time drive-in movie and a live concert.
Concertgoers will drive up to the parking lot of High Quality Cannibis at 1435 NW 9th St. from 6–9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, pay $30 per vehicle, and enjoy the band’s repertoire – all from the safety of their own cars.
After feeling discouraged that many live music events would be canceled, band member Freddy Perez started researching what type of events were safe and compliant with Gov. Kate Brown’s social distance orders. He found a number of drive-in movie events resurging across the nation, and decided it could be the perfect setting for a local jam.
“It feels like we have to go backward a little bit with technology to go forward,” Perez said. “Drive-in movie theatres, at least for me… bring back nostalgia.”
The funds raised from the event will be donated to the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, a network of people and organizations that supports the city’s economic, social, and ecological health through a multitude of programs and campaigns.
The band settled on the coalition because they wanted the donations to support local businesses that have struggled during the pandemic.
“We feel like their heart’s in the right place, and they’re already putting a lot of energy together and helping out the restaurants that are struggling during these times,” Perez said.
“We see music as a form of medicine that helps us really, really release tension and allows us to feel more free, and music to us – it’s inspiring in itself,” he continued. “If we’re able to help others while we’re at it, that’s even more of a reason to do it.”
The event will also include an opening performance by Sweet N Juicy, a rock band from Portland; food from local vendors; and live painting by Erik Hoogen, the artist who painted the mural outside of High Quality.
For two months, Perez and the rest of the band have been planning the event, coordinating the location with High Quality, reaching out to vendors, and finalizing details to make it as safe as possible.
“Safety is definitely the priority,” said Perez, “because we want to have more [events like this] and just to be in good standing with the city.”
The band has creatively problem solved ways to follow CDC guidelines at the event. They will be renting several porta potties and requesting that attendees wear masks and stay six feet apart when going to the restroom. People wishing to order food from vendors can lift their windshield wipers, and a masked server will come to the window, take their order, and deliver the food back to the car. There will not be any alcohol because the concert is a family-friendly event.
“If a lot of people come and this event is a success, then we would like to get bigger bands out and keep it happening,” said Perez. “It feels like a good opportunity to keep local music alive. A lot of us really have had local music as a big light in our lives and we can still rekindle that fire.”