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L.A. Beat

Gord Bamford excited to raise money for local mental health organizations with drive in concert

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Australian born, Lacombe based country star Gord Bamford had to change a few plans due to Covid 19 including cancelling the Rednek tour in support of his most recent CD.

Gord Bamford and Lisa Dodd. Photo by Richard Amery
 Instead, he is playing a limited number of drive in shows to raise money for mental health organizations in all of his tour stops. The Lethbridge show will go to Woods Homes and the Lethbridge and District Family Services, July 11 at Exhibition Park. He sold out the first  one — a Canada Day show in Red Deer, and is excited about shows in Lethbridge on July 11, Calgary on July 18, Grande Prairie, July 24, and Medicine Hat on a date to be announced.

“ It’s $65 per car and you can fit as many people in the car as you have seats. You put the windows down and open the sun roof. There will be surround sound and giant video screens. It will be like a Pink Floyd tribute show,” he said, noting they had to shelve a lot of projects  including the #Rednek tour in support of his most recent album.

“We were hoping to reschedule that tour, but weren’t able to. So we just decided to shelve the album and move on to the next project,” said Bamford, who has a number of hit singles, including  “Red Dress,” Dive Bar,” “ Country Junkie,“ Neon Smoke” “Day Job” and “Is it Friday Yet” which his shows will focus on, though he has released five new singles off of the shelved eight track album #Rednek.

“I’m not much for playing new music at the shows. Fortunately I have a lot of songs on the radio that I can play that people like,” he said.
“It’s a tough time for the music industry, so we’re all having to do things differently,” he said. Even videos.

 He released a video for “Just Let Go” in late June, featuring the band members dressed up in their favourite heavy metal costumes and recording their parts from their homes.

“That was a concept we had before. And it turned out great. It was a lot of fun,” he said, adding he is excited to play shows, albeit in a different and unique way.

“I’m just excited to tour. Because we don’t know when we’ll be able to tour again,” he said, adding he was disappointed to let the last album go.
“We released five singles. All of our marketing for the album has gone away. I took last year off. I wrote 40 new songs. I hadn’t expected to take this year off too,” he continued, adding he is considering a drive in tour across Canada when things clear up.

“ That would be fun because people could tailgate and barbecue smokies and hamburgers,” he said, adding that won’t be happening for these shows with all the new rules fans must follow.
“It’s a different experience especially playing to a row of cars,” he continued, adding the sound is also different as he isn’t used to Surroundsound bouncing back at him.
“ We worked a lot with Alberta Health to make this happen as safely as possibly, ” he said, noting there are a lot of rules that must be followed.

Each vehicle may include a maximum of four people though exceptions will be made for large families. People sharing a vehicle should be from the same household or cohort. Windows can be rolled down and convertibles can have rooftops open. No crowd participation permitted. People are asked to remain in their vehicles for the entire concert. People hanging outside of their windows or sunroofs will be instructed to stay inside their vehicles by security and MC’s or they will be instructed to leave.
No food and beverage sales will be available onsite. No giveaways or handouts onsite. Guests will be instructed to bring their own food and beverage to consume within their vehicle. Guests will be asked to take all their garbage with them when they leave the event.

No washrooms will be available on site – the show is designed to be short enough for most guest’s comfort.
Assigned parking spots will be clearly marked and distanced two metres apart. Drivers will be directed by a parking attendant/marshall upon arrival. Once parked, guests will be asked to turn off the ignition and avoid idling.
Smoking anything including; cigarettes, e-cigarettes and cannabis, vaping, illegal substances and consuming alcohol is strictly prohibited.
After the show, the event emcee will give verbal instructions to the attendees regarding exit/egress procedures. Guests will be instructed to be patient during this time and comply with instructions from event staff. Venue staff will direct vehicles that are exiting to ensure order. Attendees may leave the concert anytime during the show however re-entry will not be permitted.

In the event of an emergency, concert-goers are asked to follow all instructions displayed on the large video screens which will include a phone number to call.
“The two shows will be pretty similar. We have a 90 minute window so there’s time to move cars in and out,” he said.
“I’m fortunate. But it’s about keeping my crew and band working. And it’s fun to raise money. And it’s an opportunity for me to give back by raising money for mental health in your community,” Bamford said, adding ATB approached him with the idea.

“ATB is paying for our expenses for these shows,”  he said, noting there are a lot more technical concerns to take care of for these shows, including the video screens and Surround sound.

“And the band is surrounded by plexiglass, so we’re socially distancing,” he said.
He noted he decided to raise money for mental health because he noticed people are struggling during Covid and not handling the new normal as well as they expected.
 He was pleasantly surprised the Red Deer show sold out.
“People are sick of being at home,” he said.
The two Lethbridge shows are 6-7 p.m. and 9-10 p.m. Tickets are $65 per car or $110 for VIP parking up front.
“ It’s a great deal and a very cost effective night out for your family. I promise you will have had a great time by the time you leave,” he said.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Thursday, 09 July 2020 15:48 )  
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