Drive-thru America initiative

According to a press release by Amy Franklin:

"Prior to entering law, Johnson was a musician and event producer. The inspiration for Drive-In America came from his own childhood family Summer experiences like outdoor concerts, with a portable meal, and he wants those special moments for others. It also came from his own austerity experiences -- reusing paper lunch sacks, and solving budget shortages with creativity. Johnson’s other passion is to support the tens of thousands of talented local musicians, actors, directors, poets, and storytellers who have been sidelined by the Coronavirus crisis without a plan in place to protect them. “These talented musicians are ready to provide their craft, and desperately needing work. They can make a difference for local communities. These people are the morale captains ready to remind people what is best about life.”

As events have been shut down across the nation, a movement has been initiated to re-stimulate the local event industry through Drive-In America.

The goal of the initiative is to offer people who are high-risk for contracting COVID-19 an outlet to enjoy entertainment events and to facilitate stage-construction in parking lots and feature local artists.

According to a news release by Amy Franklin, “The mission of Drive-In America is to stimulate investment in stage construction in parking lots where local communities can be nourished by well-paid local talent, free of charge.”

The founder Alan Johnson wanted to offer local artists the same opportunity as nation-wide entertainment entities to schedule drive-in concerts, which will aide local communities.

“Instead of Summer Shakespeare in the Park, people can experience ‘Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’. Where family library events are now closed, they can hear storytellers and other children’s entertainment over lunch in the car. And, there can be music -- pop, country, jazz and classical music at any time of the day. The possibilities are endless when streaming technologies, social media, and human imagination are factored into the platform Johnson hopes will take form,” said the release.

Johnson stated his goal to sponsor local performers and construct 2,000 stages that will benefit both the artists and social lives of communities that have been under lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

He is currently working to attain sponsorship to fund the movement, aiming to receive aide from corporate America, philanthropic foundations, and from the federal government, explained the release.

“The end goal (2,000 parking lot stages in primarily suburban and rural towns across the country) is an attractive way for corporate sponsors to maintain connection and goodwill with customers until they can get back into stores (many retailers also have large parking lots that could accommodate a stage). Overall cost estimations for a nationwide program ($500,000,000) are nominal by federal stimulus spending standards and based on work and reward rather than free money, and clearly stimulating cooperation and a great American unity, much needed at this time,” said the newsletter.

Businesses that are interested in participating in the initiative can access informational at Planning and training can be found in Johnson’s publication , Out of the Dark: How Drive-In Community Events Will Get Us From Now to Normal.

“If this turns out to be the right idea for people, I think the result will be something really beautiful and diverse,” said Johnson. ”One things’ for sure, families will smile and laugh, performers will work, minds will solve problems. This is what we need.”

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