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Drive-in concerts coming to Pontiac, courtesy of the Crofoot

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Live touring music acts are headed back to the metro area this month.

The Crofoot in Pontiac will host a series of drive-in concerts in the city's Lot #9 at the corner of Pike and Saginaw streets -- rechristened the Crofoot Festival Grounds. Things off with Los Angeles rockers Steel Panther on Oct. 16, while Shinedown's Brent Smith and Zach Myers will bring their duo act to town the following night. West Michigan-based Pop Evil will play an acoustic Halloween night concert, and the Crofoot's Dan McGowan says one more show is confirmed with two more possible.

"It feels great, says McGowan, who like other venue operators closed the Crofoot down during March, leaving it dormant for six and a half months. Its been a tough grind. But it feels great, even though it's late in the season, to be able to do this. Our whole team is ecstatic, and (the bands') agents feel the same way. I got an email this morning saying, 'Thanks, it feels great to get a couple of shows on sale this year'."

Capacity for the Crofoot drive-in shows will be 300 cars parked in a checkerboard pattern on the lot, so that they're spaced apart. Capacity for the cars varies per show, from four to "as many as you can fit, with seatbelts," according to McGowan. Prices run from $150-$300 per vehicle.

Tickets are now on sale at thecrofoot.com.

McGowan promises that a full complement of COVID-19 precautions will be in place. Attendees will have to wear facemasks and practice social distancing when away from the cars. Drivers will have to wear facemasks any time they interact with venue staff. Attendees will be able to listen to the music via an FM transmission or with their windows down, or stand outside of their cars in their designated spot.

Backstage there will be a registered nurse, with screenings, temperature checks and "a whole bunch of other things to keep our staff and (the acts) safe, McGowan says. There will also be a large barricade in front of the stage to keep distance between the acts and fans.

McGowan says the Crofoot has been looking at drive-in shows since the spring. "We wanted to do it earlier but it didn't make sense on a variety of levels," including economic, he says. "Part of it had to do with good, common sense. We wanted to make sure it was safe for everybody, as safe as it could be. Once we had the right comfort level and clarity from the governor's office, then we knew it was OK to proceed."

McGowan says he's in no hurry yet to re-activate the Crofoot itself, despite a recent state executive order -- with attendance restriction -- and now a state Supreme Court order that may cancel all executive orders made since April 30.

"Even if those (orders) are no longer valid, we're not going to be foolish," McGowan says. "We're going to do it safe. Even though it's been a huge financial hit for us, we're still gonna do the right thing. Right now it's great to at least get some shows in and then we'll see how the winter goes and how things work out for next year."

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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