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Coliseum GM looking ‘outdoors’ in hopes of reviving struggling concert business during pandemic

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Coliseum GM Randy Brown hopes two drive-in shows will revive concert business at his venue. Concerts have been virtually shut down across the country since the COVID-19 threat became a reality.
A country music show and Contemporary Christian concert will be held outside the Coliseum within days of each other at the end of September.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Concert performances are making a comeback at the Memorial Coliseum, but in a different form.

Things will look much different than they did when the venue hosted "Kiss" back in February, the last music event held at the Coliseum before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Two concerts will draw fans at the end of the month-- one a country music show, the other Contemporary Christian.

But they won't be indoors, they'll take place under the stars.

Cars will enter the Coliseum parking lot and line up back towards the east, in front of a stage set up outside the main Coliseum entrance.

The show on September 25th will be called Country Nite at the Drive-In, featuring rising superstar Chris Janson.

On the 29th of the month, Casting Crowns will be the big attraction for a Christian music performance.

Because cars park in every other space, the space outside the driver's side door will be open for occupants of the vehicle to get out, with their masks on, and sit in lawn chairs or on blankets to look up at the stage or at large video screens that will be erected on either side.

The vehicles will act as a barrier to separate concert-goers from one another.

Indoor restrooms will be available to those who attend, and they will be sanitized almost non-stop by cleaning crews with electro-static cleaning devices that are known for effectively killing the COVID-19 virus.

Coliseum staff will be all over the parking lot, making sure spectators aren't getting close to others.

"We don't want to be on national news showing a party scene with thousands of people up in front of the stage, that would be a defeat as far as we're concerned. So, we're going to be proactive, we will have teams of people, backed up by police officers making sure that people are indeed social distancing," said Coliseum General Manager Randy Brown.

Neither of the concerts was sold out at the time of this report.

Brown is hopeful the events will be a hit, and if so, that a few more of them could be scheduled at the Coliseum before the end of 2020.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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