June 30, Colombo: Sri Lankan singing sensations Bathiya and Santhush together with TV Derana presented Sri Lanka’s first-ever drive-in concert, powered by Dialog Axiata, which treated fans to the first LIVE music experience since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The 'BNS Drive-in Concert with Dialog' was held at the Colombo Airport Ratmalana.
Other popular artistes including Umaria, Sanuka, Wasthi and Yohani De Silva also performed, and the talented young band “INFINITY” provided the music while also performing the opening segment.
Drive-in concerts are an emerging trend in the world that allows performers to connect with their fans in real-life while maintaining safe social distancing measures during the pandemic. BNS Drive-in Concert with Dialog, was not only Sri Lanka’s first, but South Asia’s first drive-in concert held post-COVID-19 lockdown.
This concert was done as an initiative affiliated to the ‘Restart Sri Lanka Initiative’ that was launched by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) together with the Prime Minister's Office, with the aim of reviving the Sri Lankan economy and to motivate Sri Lankan people and businesses. This project also stood as a symbolic exercise to re-activate the entertainment industry in Sri Lanka which is at a complete halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event adhered to strict health and security guidelines under the supervision of the relevant authorities. The ticket proceeds were donated to the “Itukama: COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund”.
To ensure physical distancing, the audience was not allowed to leave their cars. The audio feed of the event was also broadcast on a special FM frequency in HD (High-Definition) audio so that fans could have a crystal clear audio feed apart from simply winding down the shutters to listen to the sound of the venue speakers. Instead of clapping or cheering, fans honked and flashed their headlights to show appreciation to the artistes.
“I’ve been missing live music so much that it was a real treat for me to see my favorite artistes perform in front of me in person, this is awesome !!!,” said an audience member.
Musicians around the world have had to adopt new mediums to engage with their fans, with many performing online from their homes with virtual performances due to mass closures of concert venues. Concert venues are expected to be among the last to reopen because of the challenges of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 'BNS Drive-in Concert with Dialog' was powered by Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata PLC, in association with TV Derana.