Recap: Meet Me at The Drive-In with Billy Strings

(Image by Robert K. Recordings)

When fellow Camp Counselor Robert hit me up with the opportunity to see Billy Strings in Peoria I was excited, but honestly slightly apprehensive. I am immunocompromised and have an immune compromised child. We have not done much and you will always see me out wearing a mask. I have been very curious about this new “normal” in live music and wondered if it would be something that we could safely do as a family. Instead of jumping in with both feet, I decided to cautiously wade and go this first time with just my oldest. 

Robert picked me up prepared for the COVID route with extra hand sanitizer and face masks in his car. I had my mask on when I greeted him and had a sanitizer in my bag with my snack supply. Taking your own snacks into a concert means concert deliciousness. I had veggies and dip, veggie pizza, and some candy. (Yes, I brought enough to share!)

As we waited in line my anxiety and anticipation peaked, I had not been in line for a concert in quite some time. My husband and I had spent the New Year’s holiday seeing Keller Williams in St. Louis and had taken the kids with my parents to see Bob Dylan in the fall. We typically see most of our concerts during the spring/summer months because the shows are outdoors, and we can go as a family. We had lots of live music plans this year, but then COVID happened and things got turned upside down.

(Image by Robert K. Recordings)

Seeing Billy Strings

I was really excited to see Billy Strings as he was currently on by bucket list. My son, Andrew was equally excited. As he took to the stage the first chords of “Robin Built a Nest on Daddy’s Grave” and the crowd erupted with pent up energy that could be felt, even though we were all safely distanced. As the set continued, crowd favorites including “Must Be Seven,” and “Little Maggie” were played. (For a full set list, please see below.) I noticed that this was a really nice set up for the families that were around us as their kids had plenty of room to dance without ever getting close to anyone that was not a part of their own group. 

There were a few amenities at the show, portable restrooms were available and specifically placed at the end of each row. There were signs up asking that everyone only go to the bathroom in the correct restroom for the row that they are in. This is very helpful with tracing should anyone at the show test positive for COVID-19 in the coming days. As the night progressed, it was nice seeing everyone wearing their masks.

(Image by Robert K. Recordings)

The entire setlist was really amazing and the fact that he covered “China Doll” by the Grateful Dead during the second set made it even more special to me. I have always loved the song and being able to see it live on my first night back seeing live music really made me long for a time when we can all safely attend festivals and shows per usual again.

Finally, after the encore performance of “Old Home Place,” we all packed up and headed out. The traffic flowed nicely and everyone was able to easily get out as long as they were following directions and the flow of traffic. 

You can audio stream the 09/18/2020 show on Mixlr HERE.

(Image courtesy of Billy Strings FB)

Five Tips for COVID Safety at Concerts 

After having this experience, I can say that there are some tips that you are sure to appreciate.

Tip #1 – Take the Snacks or Do Dinner and a Show

Being able to take your snacks and/or dinner in allows you to safely eat while you are at the show. The Exposition Gardens venue did have a small snack stand set up, but they were only offering a few beverage choices and some chips for this inaugural show.

Tip #2 – Follow the Rules 

I get that masks are a pain but let me fill you in on something…none of us like wearing them. You are not alone if you are not happy wearing a mask. The fact remains that if we would all wear our masks and follow the rules, we will all get through this just a little bit faster.

Tip #3 – Use Hand Sanitizer 

Hand sanitizer is shown to kill the COVID-19 virus. This simple protective measure can really keep you and your family safe while attending a show.

Tip #4 – Be Respectful of Others 

Everyone at the show respected everyone’s space. No one attempted to walk through people’s spots or tried to get away with anything of that nature. This all helped me to know that next time, I will be able to bring the family along. 

Tip #5 – Be Prepared 

The weather is getting cooler and it was somewhat cold while we were there. It was nice to have a blanket and a jacket and to be prepared. Remember to look at the weather and to make sure that you have everything that you need. One thing about these new shows is that you really can’t leave before your show ends without disturbing other concert goers. So, make sure you have everything that you need to stay the entire time.

(Image by Robert K. Recordings)

My experience was really good and helped boost my spirits in what has been a long series of months without live music. I was thankful that it turned out to be so amazing and that other concert goers were respectful to one another. We miss you, love you, and want to see you all at the next Summer Camp, so drive safe and take care!

– Camp Counselor Amanda

You can view all of Camp Counselor Robert’s photo’s HERE.