Drive-in movies and live music salvage summer nights

Tell me more, tell me more, History Center!

The screen goes up at the History Center of Olmsted County (contributed photo)

Our summer dreams may be ripped at the seams, but oh, our summer nights are going to be filled with drive-in delights.

Spectrum Pro Audio is teaming up with the History Center of Olmsted County to take us all back to the ’50s, when drive-in theaters were all the rage. Better yet, they’ll be offering live music before each film. The music and films, under the name Pandemic Pictures Presents , will happen every Friday night from June 26 through Sept. 25.

In the early days of COVID-19, Daniel Van Hook from Spectrum Pro Audio came across an article about a group in Sweden that held drive-in concerts, seeing 500 or so attendees.

“Each week, there were several other venues popping up around the world,” he said.


This prompted him to bring the concept to Rochester. Van Hook said the screen he’s built for Roosters Field at the History Center is 53 feet wide and 39 feet tall. It’ll be supported by 15,000-lumen HD digital projection and a stereo FM radio transmission.

Each Friday, the gates will open at 7 p.m., with live music starting at 7:30, and playing until sunset, when the screen comes to life. Van Hook said the series will feature local musicians and classic PG or PG-13 movies.

Dianna Parls and Tim Dallman 2.jpg
Tim Dallman and Dianna Parks (contributed photo)

The first night of the event, tonight, will feature the music of Dianna Parks and Tim Dallman, along with the film “Grease.” You may have caught the musical duo in the band The Suits last year ,or any number of local projects. Parks promised to “channel (her) best bad-girl Sandy” act for the occasion — a long-awaited return to live performance.

“The cancellation of so many outdoor events — let’s face it, summer makes Minnesota worth it sometimes — has been disappointing, particularly as a performer, but I hear from so many friends and fans that they are missing our music,” Parks said.

Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria will provide pizza, ice cream and soda for purchase, while area high school band programs will sell popcorn.


In order to keep everyone as safe as possible from the coronavirus, tickets for each movie and music will be sold online. Cars will park at a minimum of 6 feet away from each other, and attendees are asked to remain in their vehicles unless they are using the restroom or purchasing food. While outside of the vehicle, patrons are asked to wear a mask, and the restrooms will be sanitized every 30 minutes.

In the movie “Grease,” Danny, played by John Travolta, sings “Stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool” — but the only fools involved with this drive-in will be those that don’t come out for the show.

Dianna Parks and Tim Dallman 1.jpg
Dianna Parks and Tim Dallman (contribued photo)

“Tell me more, tell me more…”

What: Pandemic Pictures Presents: Music and a Movie

When: Every Friday from June 26-Sept. 25. Gates open at 7 p.m.; music starts at 7:30. Movie starts at sunset.

Where: Roosters Field at the History Center of Olmsted County

Cost: $25 per car. Tickets sold online before the show at\u0009 .


Upcoming Schedule:

June 26: Musicians Dianna Parks and Tim Dallman and “Grease”

July 3: Musician Miriam Halleen and “A League of Their Own”

July 10: Musicians Ellen Thomes and Bob Sanborn and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Want more movies? Keep an eye on the 125 LIVE Facebook page for occasional drive-in screenings.

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