Derek Ryan made history last weekend becoming the first Irish singer to perform at a Drive-In concert.  Not content with just one show, the award winning performer held three at Ballymena Show Grounds, such was the demand for tickets.

The Farmers’ Bash Drive-In concerts were the first country shows to take place outside America, following in the footsteps of Keith Urban, Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks’ shows last month.

Over 1200 cars, tractors and trucks packed the Co. Antrim sports ground over three nights to watch, in the comfort of their own vehicles, Derek’s lively set.  The audio for the event was transmitted via FM to the vehicles allowing fans to enjoy the show and adhering to the strict social distancing measures that were in place.

Last weekend was the first time Derek and his band had performed on stage since the end of their UK tour in March.  The Coronavirus lockdown has seen a complete ban on live entertainment which also affected the proposed dance Derek had arranged for the 16th March in the Lord Bagenal Hotel, amongst scores of other dances and festivals he had planned for this summer which have all now been cancelled.

In order to keep in touch with fans over this past three months, Derek was busy between live Facebook concerts and the recording of his duet with Country Queen Philomena Begley.  ‘It Won’t Rain Forever’ was released during lockdown with proceeds from the song shared with Alone Ireland and Age NI.  They both performed the song together last weekend at the Drive-In shows which heralded a near deafening sound of car horns from the audience, a substitute for applause, such was the enthusiasm from his fans.  Derek was prompted to write the song after watching Philomena on the Late Late Show when she recalled how lockdown had prevented her from seeing her grandchildren.  The song topped the charts within hours of release.

With strict social distancing still in place, it is unclear when Derek and his band will be able to return to live indoor shows, but in the meantime those who travelled to Ballymena savoured the Drive-In experience and hopefully others throughout the rest of the country will also be able to do soon.

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