In an effort to get creative during COVID-19, the village of Barrington will offer its first drive-in concert Friday night featuring the folk, pop and rock fusion of local favorite Pat McKillen.
The village board formally approved the plan Monday night. By that time 103 tickets at $20 each per vehicle had been sold, out of 175 available, and the concert was expected to nearly or fully sell out, village spokeswoman Patty Dowd Schmitz said.
“From what I am hearing, people are excited about it,” she said.
McKillen, 32, a singer/songwriter who graduated from Barrington High School in 2006, most recently performed at Barrington’s White House in February and held a live online concert for the same venue in early June.
Although he’s attended drive-in concerts in Chicago, this will be his first one as a performer, McKillen said.
“It’s a cool way to keep things going right now,” he said. “The closest I’ve come to something like this (as a performer) is going to a lake where people pull up on boats. This will be a land version of that.
“This is nice because the majority of my performances in the last six months are livestreamed online, and that takes away almost all the entire element of crowd interaction and crowd visibility.”
McKillen typically does solo performances, but on Friday he’ll have a full band with some of his good friends, he said. His plan is to play mostly original songs with some classics. “It’s going to be a good time,” he said.
The idea for the drive-in concert came from members of Barrington’s cultural commission, who were searching for out-of-the-box ideas during the pandemic, Dowd Schmitz said.
McKillen was a natural choice, she said, noting “he has a good following and we thought he’d be a great entertainer for this type of event.”
The performance will take place in the Metra parking lot north of the railroad tracks, between Moretti’s restaurant and the train depot in downtown Barrington. The village is paying a total $3,000 for the performance and sound system, she said.
Each vehicle can have up to six occupants and will get a block of four parking spaces to maintain social distancing. People can bring their own chairs, small tables, food and drinks, but they are asked not to mingle with other groups, she said. There will be portable restrooms in addition to the restrooms at the train depot.
Village board members said they liked the overall plan. Trustee Todd Sholeen said he liked the idea of encouraging concertgoers to get takeout from restaurants in town before going to the concert.
The concert is at 7 p.m. Friday. For tickets, visit eventbrite.com/e/pat-mckillen-live-barrington-commuter-lot-drive-in-concert-tickets-120300765829.