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Lancs comedians beating lockdown by letting fans watch stand-ups from their cars

Written by on June 13, 2020

We could all be doing with a laugh right now, and luckily for us a group of comedians from Lancashire are taking matters into their own hands by launching their very own drive-in comedy gigs.

Clubs, theatres and other venues available to host stand-up comedy nights have been closed since mid-March as the Covid-19 crisis gripped the UK.

But as the lockdown is gently eased, Boris Johnson has made modifications to the ongoing shutdown, changing the rules to allow certain sites to re-open.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister gave the green light for drive-in events, including cinemas, to start operating again.

A group of Lancashire comedians have now set up ‘Drive In Events’ and are organising a series of stand-up comedy shows, all to be enjoyed from the safety and comfort of your car.

Freddy Quinne, born and raised in Preston, has been a professional comedian for 10 years and is bringing together other comics, including Blackburn’s Tez Ilyas and former Preston Entertainer Of The Year Dan Nightingale, to get back on stage from next month.

And he hopes this will be the ‘greenshoots of bringing back live entertainment’.

“The live entertainment industry at the moment is absolutely on its backside,” he told LancsLive.

“I’ve been a pro act for 10 years and this is really all I know. In all that time I’ve never seen something that has devastated the industry like this.

“Unless we can come up with some sort of solution in order to make people be able to watch live events again I think you risk losing a generation of perfomers.

“With the amount of theatres closing and shutting down we are worried from a performance perspective there isn’t going to be any venues left.

“In the one sense we are looking at this and thinking maybe its just a lockdown but there’s potential, the way this is going, that this will be the future of live events for the timebeing.

“We are hoping that by bringing it to a drive-in stage we can observe social distancing and you can laugh along in your car. You will still have that feeling of comradery and all laughing together.

The first drive-in comedy event will be held at Thornton Hall County Park near Barnoldswick on Friday, July 10, from 7pm.

Freddy, Dan and Tez’s performances on stage will be broadcast on a large screen with audience members able to listen through an FM frequency on their in-car radio.

Food and drink will be available on-site during the 90-minute show and can be ordered on arrival using a mobile phone app. Toilets will also be available and will be ‘cleaned regularly’.

Each car will be allowed to hold a maximum of four people and visitors will not be permitted to bring any alcohol.

Freddie, who now lives in Burscough, said they are planning to hold another drive-in comedy event at Trapp Farm, Thornton, from early July. These could then be held weekly if successful.

Freddie, who will compere the gigs, said: “We are looking for more outdoor places to put this on.

“I think the demand is through the roof.  Similar events in Glasgow and Dublin have sold out overnight. We are looking at getting a couple of hundred cars per show.

“We have seen an opportunity to put work back into peoples pockets. If you’re a comedian the avenues of support open to you are very limited.

“I would love to be able to get loads of these events across Lancashire.

“I know there’s a lot of people who have this set up and are wondering what to do with it. There’s also a lot of people at home at the moment who are so bored and they just want to go out again and feel normal. I feel like we can put all of this together.

“This will be one of the things you tell kids and grandkids when you talk about lockdown. That’s what we want to aim for.

“Rather than saying I just sat inside for weeks watching Tiger King 47 times. I think there’s an opportunity to do things you would never do before and make memories that will define your lockdown.”

For tickets and more information visit the Drive In Events website here.

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