To the strains of rock, Argentines relish a new normal of outdoor concerts

  • World
  • Sunday, 06 Sep 2020

People enjoy a drive-in concert by local pop band Coti y Los Brillantes, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 5, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Enraptured faces turned upwards, illuminated by the glare of lights, Argentines on Saturday night enjoyed what was billed by its organisers as the first concert of its kind in South America since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The performance by Coti Sorokin and his band Los Brillantes was held in a drive-in theatre on the banks of La Plata River on the outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires, with strict health protocols.

Argentina remains one of the worst-hit countries in Latin America, with 471,806 cases and 9,739 deaths as of Saturday. Despite the continued outbreak, the country loosened movement restrictions, allowing restaurants to operate outdoors and the entertainment industry to resume some events.

The hour-and-a-half concert, with capacity for 60 cars, saw applause replaced by car horns and the glow of cellphones replaced by the blaze of headlights.

"We can't stop making music," Coti, 47, an Argentine rocker celebrated for collaborations with other Latin stars including Mexico's Julieta Venegas, told his audience.

As well as performing well-known hits including "Before Seeing The Sun" and "Again", Coti debuted "Out There," a song he described as his "quarantine hymn" since it was composed, recorded and edited during the lockdown.

"It is so exciting to be able to see this, to have real contact rather than virtual, with the backdrop of the river on a cool but beautiful day," said Nicolas Magaldi, a 33-year-old television presenter who attended with his wife and young son.

During the concert Coti descended from the stage to play directly in front of the cars but maintained a safe distance in keeping with the health rules set by the municipality of San Isidro, a chic suburban neighborhood. The rules also stipulated that attendees undergo temperature checks and stay in their vehicles.

Event organizer Marcelo Mazzini told Reuters the concert was a first on the continent since the outbreak and he hoped the event would help kickstart the battered entertainment industry.

(Reporting by Lucila Sigal; Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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