Music lovers enjoyed a Saskatchewan first in Lampman on June 13.
A drive-in concert was held at the town’s campground, featuring Saskatchewan country music singer Justin LaBrash and his band True North. Forty-eight vehicles passed through the gates for the event, and 202 people were counted for the attendance.
Proceeds from the concert were directed to the Lampman branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Justin LaBrash was born in Regina and currently resides in Lumsden, but he has family in the southeast region and has spent a lot of time in the Kisbey area. His mother Laureen said they might have been able to squeeze in a couple more vehicles, but that would have been difficult.
“Everybody followed the guidelines that are in place with the social distancing and the requirements for shows like this. Everything just went well,” said Laureen.
The wind was the only issue, as it forced concert organizers to keep relocating the FM antenna and adjusting it throughout the show. Instruments needed to be placed on the stage so they wouldn’t blow away when they weren’t in use.
Justin said it was a thrill to be back on stage, and this was his first concert since the pandemic.
“It was a huge success,” he said. “They had a sold out crowd of more than 200 people, and raised some good funds for the Lampman Legion, and was able to kick off something that I think is going to be a cool event to carry us through the summer,” said Justin.
He compared the concert to “riding a bike,” for both him and the band members, since they didn`t forget how to put on a good show.
“We’re really looking forward to being able to work with the guys again, and get back on the road again and feel somewhat normal,” he said.
Justin was supposed to come to Lampman to perform at a fundraiser for the legion in March, but that concert was dashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So both sides started looking into how they could make this happen.
They found out they could hold the concert, as long as they followed certain guidelines. All vehicles were parked five metres apart, people had to remain in the vehicle and no concession stand was closed.
“It was five months and a week between the time the boys (Justin and True North) and played together, until they stepped on the stage (in Lampman), because they couldn’t have a rehearsal, and they were staying isolated and being extremely careful,” said Laureen.
The legion and the Town of Lampman/Rural Municipality of Browning Recreation Board played a big role in making the event happen, Laureen said. The Prairie Dog Drive-In allowed Justin and True North to play a set of songs before the movie on June 12 to help promote the Lampman show.
It took 10 days to plan the drive-in concert, from when the concept was conceived to when the show began.
“Justin just felt strongly about it, and so we went with it,” said Laureen. “The Lampman legion was just incredible to work with. The volunteers there were so excited.”
The concert had added meaning because his 100-year-old great grandfather, Albert Hale of Kisbey, was there, along with Justin’s grandparents, Grant and Marilyn Hale.
Since the Lampman concert, nine drive-in shows have been booked. Laureen believes this is a direction that live music will be headed in the coming months, especially since there hasn’t been any discussion of concerts happening indoors in the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.
“With some tweaking, it can happen very safely, but it’s something they have to work through, and until then, this is an option for some artists that are able to do it,” said Laureen.