Remember: If you’re going out in public, follow social distancing guidelines (at least six feet between you and anyone else), wash hands often and thoroughly, and consider wearing a face mask.
Since the beginning of social distancing, many of us have missed the pieces of community we’ve come to expect as part of our routines: cheering for the Astros with strangers at a bar, summer block parties with the neighbors, and of course, singing along to our favorite musicians at local performance venues. Though it’s still too soon to pack ourselves together en masse at a concert, Los Skarnales saxophonist Chuy Terrazas and production designer Dash Speer are recreating that festival experience for a COVID world with Metamorphosis, a drive-in music festival June 13 at Minute Maid Park.
“The entire project has been a collaborative effort,” Terrazas says. “It was never about trying to maximize profits; it’s always been more about helping as many people as possible and allowing people to connect and perform.”
Terrazas got the idea for the festival after watching a video of a drive-in concert held in Lithuania. Once he decided to bring the same idea to Houston, he contacted his friend Dash Speer, owner of Limitless Light + Sound, to help make his vision a reality. While Axelrad Beer Garden kicked off the Bayou City’s venture into automobile-incorporating concerts last month, Metamorphosis will be one of the first drive-in concerts of this scale to take shape in Houston, says Speer. The multi-stage, multi-act festival will feature an array acts from across Houston’s sonic landscape, including funk-soul fusionists Bayou City Funk, funk-rockers Lords of Kool, DJ I.V., electronic duo NONC3NTS, rapper Guilla, and Terrazas’s own Los Skarnales, which blends ska and Cumbia with reggae and punk.
In order to ensure everyone’s safety, attendees will be given freshly sanitized silent disco headphones with three separate channels—so listeners can choose which stage they tune into from the comfort of their cars. As an added bonus for concert-goers who love the rush of the crowds, but hate the pounding headache from all that bass: Those headphones will allow audience members to easily control the volume at which they hear the music. “Your ears won’t ring for the next three hours like they would after a typical concert,” Terrazas says.
Listeners will also be allowed to leave their vehicles, but are required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing if they choose to do so.
The organizers hope their festival inspires more music events of this kind, but most of all, however, Terrazas hopes the event can restore a sense of connection that we’ve lost during the pandemic. “I didn’t initially think that this was making such a difference in people’s lives, but I realized how much people have been suffering and what this was providing for them,” he says. “It gave them something to look forward to again. This festival is about shining a positive light in an uncertain world.”
June 13. $25 per person. Minute Maid Stadium, Lot C, 501 Crawford St. More info and tickets at eventbrite.com.