During the Covid-19 crisis, I visited quite a couple of drive-in movies, which became a very popular kind of entertainment in Germany. As a music enthusiast, I was happy that the infrastructure is also used for drive-in concerts, at which people stay in their car, listen to the music via the car entertainment system (radio transmission) and watch their stars live on stage – and typically on the cinema screen – in parallel.
BonnLive, a Bonn concert promotiion, even took one step further and opened a drive-in venue, which is majorly built to feature concerts. I was very curious about the place and the show I visited on 28th May 2020: Björn Heuser is not only quite a famous Cologne musician, he also recorded his last album in Nashville (even though singing in Kölsch, Cologne-style German). I hoped for some country tunes during the show.
The drive-in concerts featured by BonnLive are held at a venue on the rear side of former Bonn West Station in an industrial area. The drive-in access is done via Immenburgstraße, which is comparably well-known in Bonn, majorly as some parts of Bonn red light entertainment are located there – this business is however forbidden during the time of the concerts due to Covid-19 regulations.
The area, which is also called Am Westwerk is having a capacity for slightly less than 250 cars. You typically buy a car ticket, which includes two people, and then can add a “backseat ticket” for additional people. Some snacks can be pre-purchased, but there is also a snack booth as well as sanitary facilities, which are portable toilets. The venue is built for the purpose of concerts, theater and comedy in contrast to drive-in movie locations like the Cologne pop-up drive-in cinema. This is very handy as the stage location and height is optimized for the view from the car. At another concert I attended as an ordinary visitor in another venue, I ended up watching most of the performance on the screen. The Bonn venues does come with a screen, but the stage is central underneath.
The cars enter the venue from the rear of the place, which has been transformed from the flair of an illegal rubbish dump to a reasonable gravel square. After the concert, you exit through the front. This allows to have comparably close distances between the cars, especially between two cars parked in the same queue. Compared to other venues I visited during Covid-19, the regulations are comparably loose. Many people for example sat on the open window spaces of their car doors to watch the show and sing with the artist. Like in drive-in cinemas, the sound is transmitted by FM. While taking pictures, I was was also dependent on loud radios and open windows.
Björn Heuser – About The Artist
The 1982-born Björn Heuser is a big name in the Cologne local music scene. He majorly became famous for his sing-a-long concerts, which feature a wide variety of genres. Heuser, however, also does quite a lot of own music- A recent CD, which I featured on Flyctory.com, is the amazing Kopp voll Dräum (Cologne German for: “Head full of dreams”), which Heuser recorded in Nashville and thus has a strong country music touch. He is also successful as a songwriter and wrote songs for multiple major Cologne acts.
Björn Heuser – The Drive-In Show
The show was scheduled to start at 20:15 hrs. However, that was the time, when the spectators received basic show rules from two moderators. The most important one, of course, is not to use the horn and basic hygiene rules. Björn Heuser stepped on stage at 20:25.
The set was a classic sing-a-long set by Björn Heuser. Apart from songs he wrote and performed by himself, this includes a lot of carnival tunes and songs from other. Some of the highlights of the sets were Mer stonn zo Dir FC Kölle, the FC Cologne soccer club anthem or En unserem Veedel, originally performed by the Cologne local band Blaäck Fööss. If you are in Cologne music, you will know other original performers like classic Willi Ostermann or modern Klüngelköpp. There were also some tunes from the Kopp voll Dräum album, but not the country tracks. The set finished with Jraaduss by BAP. Thereby, Heuser again and again referred to the lyrics book, which you either got at the venue (for free) or could download beforehand, so that there was no excuse about not knowing the lyrics.
And the crowd? You just touch Rhineland people when they are able to sing their songs. This works in major events like carnival as well as in bad times like the current Corona situation. The people just appreciated to have a good time, which roughly concluded at 21:45 hrs.
Björn Heuser – The Gallery
As there are quite some pictures with spectators involved, I decided just to publish the Björn Heuser ones in major size. Here are 157 concert pictures, located in the concert galleries:
Björn Heuser just touches the heart of the people. Even in case you would hate Cologne regional music, you would have to admit that this guy gives sad people a smile, he motivates them to sing, to sway – even if they are in their cars. So, there just cannot be some bad thing about him or what he is doing. I definitely enjoyed the relaxed, friendly concert and the really nice venue (regarding the time they had to put it up) – at the end of the concert, you were even gifted with a lovely sunset.
BonnLive – Other Drive-In Concerts and Other Shows
The list of acts at the BonnLive CarConcerts venue is still increasing, but here is the list of future concerts and other events as at the time of preparing this posting. Some of the concerts are held twice the same day, one at a late afternoon session and the second one thereafter. Sometimes there are even three shows (with different artists) the same day.