The Rise of Drive-In Events

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While drive-in events have recently seen a surge in popularity due to the pandemic, they have been around for a very long time, particularly in North America as a form of entertainment - with varying degrees of popularity over the years.

The Rise of Drive-In Events

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of the changes it has brought to everyone’s lives not just in the UK, but all around the world - one of the industries that has been hit the hardest is the events industry. Every aspect of putting on an event, from the organisation, the planning, and even the attending, is a process that requires cooperation between many different people, sometimes thousands, so it is only natural that the hosting and attending of events would end up being one of the first, industries impacted by all the new, post-COVID governmental restrictions. 

As the months go by however, and restrictions slowly begin to be lifted, a new form of event has started to gain momentum in the UK. On the 15th June, it was reported that drive-in cinemas would begin operation, and on the 19th June, plans for UK-wide drive-in gigs were reported to be in motion. From the 4th July, there have even been plans put forward to allow things like car park theatre and karaoke nights.  In this article we will explore what some of these new, drive-in events will look like in 2020; how the idea sprouted from a post COVID-19 world; and what this means for event managers, who are still looking to correctly insure this relatively new and unfamiliar style of event.


What are Drive-In Events?

While drive-in events have recently seen a surge in popularity due to the pandemic, they have been around for a very long time, particularly in North America as a form of entertainment - with varying degrees of popularity over the years. A drive-in theatre or drive-in cinema, is simply defined as a form of cinema or theatre structure consisting of a large outdoor movie screen, a projection booth and a concession stand, with a large parking area for automobiles. Within this enclosed area, customers can view movies, shows and even concerts from the privacy and comfort of their own cars. 

In a world of social distancing and restrictions, it’s not difficult to see why drive-in events have recently become so popular.


Drive-In Events & COVID-19

As previously alluded to, the idea of drive-in events has seen something of a meteoric rise in popularity in recent weeks; with some of the social distancing laws and restrictions being relaxed, they are being seen as a safer alternative to traditional events like concerts and gigs, and entertainment venues like cinemas and theatres, due to the ability to attend without having to leave the safety of your car and interact with large groups of people.

To make drive-in events as safe an alternative to conventional shows as possible, event organisers have taken many steps to ensure that there is as little risk as possible to the event attendees. These innovations include avoiding the need for paper tickets and face-to-face interactions with staff, socially distant spacing between vehicles and working closely with all of the local councils to ensure that these measures are implemented regularly and correctly.


Drive-In Events & Insurance

While event organisers are doing a lot of good work to reinvent these public events to be as safe and efficient as possible, one aspect that still needs to be considered is event insurance. As an events insurance provider, we would expect anyone we are dealing with to have all of the basic COVID-19 safety precautions in place and being implemented within their risk assessment. This would include clearly marked and planned out spaces and signage with hand wash stations and social distancing applied, a rubbish station for environmental protection and one way systems for any areas being accessed on foot e.g. the toilets. 

With Event Insurance Services, we would be able to provide our usual, standard cover for event organisers with covers like our One Off Events Insurance, which includes public liability, employers liability, equipment cover and cancellation cover (excluding government restrictions).

Since these drive-in events will be held at outdoor sites and venues, it is very important to be covered in the event of adverse weather conditions, which could quite easily lead to valuable equipment being damaged. We could also provide cover for claims associated with damage to any vehicles which is directly as a result of an organiser’s negligence. If, for example, some event signage blew down and caused damage to an attendee’s car, we could cover that.

We would be able to cover event organisers for the usual types of claims involving public or employer liability, so your staff and volunteers would be covered for ‘table service’ to the cars for example (with a property damage excess of £250), however we would not be able to cover claims arising from any driving element.These types of claims will have to be covered by the driver’s own motor policy, and do not come under our coverage for insuring drive-in events. We would strongly advise that event organisers state in their terms and conditions or booking requirements that attendees must have a motor insurance policy in place.

It is difficult to predict how popular drive-in events will prove to be over the coming months, since the post-COVID-19 world is constantly shifting, both in terms of regulations and restrictions, and also in potential attendee attitudes towards attending events in the current climate. What we do know is that from this point onwards, many types of drive-in events are being given the go-ahead, and so it is important for those looking to organise such events to seek out proper events insurance coverage, and to make the events themselves as safe as possible for the attendee to enjoy.

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