Drive-in theaters hope Jimmy Buffett concert will help re-ignite flame

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by JIM DOUGLAS / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Coming soon to the Coyote Drive-In Theatre in Fort Worth: Jimmy Buffett. 

He'll put on a full show with his band Thursday night at the year-old drive-in on the banks of the Trinity across from downtown.

Crews were busy Tuesday erecting the stage and lighting towers. It will be an intimate concert for only 1,100 ticket holders -- very lucky parrotheads. 

But the show will be beamed to 87 drive-ins across the country, where it will reach tens of thousands of fans. Producer Brandt Wood is a co-owner of the Coyote. He says he's happy with 20,000 pre-sold tickets, because people aren't used to buying advance tickets for a drive-in. Wood expects much larger crowds at those other theatres.

"Playing to 87 venues. Putting Fort Worth front and center in the entertainment world that night," said Wood. "Making history. Never been done."

Only a few hundred drive-in theatres remain. Many are struggling. But those that have converted from film to digital now have an opportunity to generate new business. 

"We've built this network. Built this model. We want to do more shows down the road in this thing we call 'the drive-in music series.'" said Wood.

Tickets for the Fort Worth performance sold out in only 10 seconds. Wood says it was Jimmy Buffett who first brought up the idea of playing at a drive-in. Now it's a way for the singer to reach parrotheads in far flung latitudes -- in remote towns where drive-in theatres are still a big part of life. 

E-mail: jdouglas@wfaa.com

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