Festival of Small Halls reborn as drive-in theatre concerts

After so many cancellations of festivals and events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the talents of many Island performers will be showcased this summer in a new way. 

After COVID-19 cancellations, focus shifts to films about community, culture, and love

The Island Drive-In Festival will feature established Island performers as well as new and upcoming talent in the films. (The Island Drive-In Festival/Facebook)

After so many festivals and events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the talents of many Island performers will be showcased in a new way this summer. 

Over 30 P.E.I. musicians will take part in the Island Drive-In Festival, a free event created by the organizers of the Festival of Small Halls. 

All the artists were filmed doing a mini-concert, which Ellis said will be used to create three films to be shown across Prince Edward Island. 

The films will be shown from the last week of July and into early September at various locations. Each site will be able to hold 75 to 125 vehicles with social distancing between each one.

"As soon as we cancelled the Festival of Small Halls, everybody started talking about pivoting," said Josh Ellis, the festival's executive director. "Working with our partners and sponsors, we were able to come up with something that's pretty cool.

"Picture a pop-up drive-in screen popping up in a back field in your community, an old race track, a rink parking lot." 

The Island Drive-In Festival will be featured in four locations in each of P.E.I.'s three counties.

"We're taking it right across P.E.I., just like the Festival of Small Hall stuff." 

New idea

The Island Drive-In Festival will feature over 30 Island artists in three films to be shown in 12 locations across Prince Edward Island. (The Island Drive-In Festival/Facebook)

Ellis said they knew they wanted to do something and, with the renewed interests in drive-ins, they decided to do that.

"The artists are happy, the filmmakers are happy. We were able to create a little bit of work for those people and of course get some music to Islanders that have been starved of it for the last few months."

Ellis said the festival will feature a diverse lineup of entertainers including established artists and upcoming talent. 

Each film features a theme based on the core values of the Festival of Small Halls, which are community, culture and love.

"There's going to be a film about our P.E.I. culture. There's going to be a film about our communities and the songs about our communities," said Ellis.

"And there's also going to be a film about love and doing small things with great love, which I think is something that in these trying times we really need to focus on." 

Ellis said all the information and the schedule will be featured on a website, and through other social media channels. 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Mainstreet


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