Nearly 250 vehicles packed into the Parkway Drive-in movie theater in Maryville on Saturday night to watch Garth Brooks perform on a 100-foot screen. The pre-recorded concert, billed as “the largest ever one-night show to play at outdoor theaters across the United States and Canada,” was played at more than 300 drive-in theaters for one night.
The drive-in almost didn’t participate in the event, said Doug Freeman, the theater’s owner and operator. Drive-in theaters were playing the concert at dusk, but because of contractual obligations, Parkway Drive-in was scheduled to show the movie “Chance” at the same time. Calls from Garth Brooks fans helped change his mind.
The solution was to play the concert at midnight immediately after the movie.
“Everyone else in the land is playing the Garth concert at dark,” Freeman said. “I’m playing it as a second feature.”
One of the earliest fans to arrive for the concert was Shelly Lynn, who waited in her car to enter the drive-in more than an hour before the show.
“I wasn’t going to do it,” Lynn said when asked about attending a virtual concert instead of a live one. “Then I couldn’t stand it. He is the best.”
Lynn’s friend, Barbie Allen, was less hesitant.
“(Garth Brooks) was coming. We were going,” Allen said.