Many musicians have gone a long time without performing live due to COVID-19.
“It’s crazy how much we’re missing it,” Lacombe’s Gord Bamford said Thursday.
“Not knowing when we’re going to be able to go back on stage has been a fear for everyone.”
But Bamford is ready to get back on stage on Canada Day and perform in the parking lot of Westerner Park in Red Deer.
“It’s a tough time for everybody in the music business, especially for the band and crew. To be able to get on stage again to play live is definitely something everybody’s really excited about,” he said.
Bamford is beginning the five-show Drive In for Mental Health concert series in Red Deer next Wednesday, where attendees will sit in their cars and watch the musicians perform.
“It’s really no different than coming to a live show, except you’re in your vehicles,” said Bamford.
“I kind of look at it like the Pink Floyd-type experience. We’re actually setting up full production and this isn’t run through an FM transmitter. It’s like a surround-sound type concert.”
Bamford had a cross-Canada tour cancelled earlier this year due to COVID-19 – he was just three shows into the tour.
On top of that, Bamford took last year off from touring to record music, so he has been longing to perform.
“If everybody follows protocol, and this all goes well, it’s a way for us to get out and play live again, tour and get people out watching.”
In addition to the Red Deer show, the drive-in concert series will also visit Lethbridge on July 11, Calgary on July 18 and two more locations to be named.
Bamford said he’s thankful to the office of Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, for allowing these concerts to happen.
“I know live shows are banned right now, but we’ve been working with the Alberta health and safety now for three weeks, proposing to them how we wanted to do this in the safest way possible, and they approved it. We’re excited to roll it out.”
Each event will raise money for organizations that support mental health. The Red Deer show will support the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre.
Bamford’s annual golf tournament, which raises money for the Gord Bamford Foundation, is not happening due to COVID-19, he added.
“These (concerts) are kind of test runs. We’re hoping we can do them great and we can announce a few more locations in support of the Gord Bamford Foundation, which also raises money for mental health and many other organizations.
“We’re hoping this is the start of many of these drive-in shows that we can take across Alberta, while the weather permits.”
There will be two 60-minute sets performed on Canada Day. Four people are allowed per car, which will be parked two metres apart from each other.
For more information, or to buy tickets, visit www.gordbamford.com.