Drive-in evolves into parking lot ‘social’

By Adam Nichols

Rethink everything you thought you knew about the drive-in experience! The innovative minds of XL Event Labs, the creators of The Big Bounce America, have their newest creation, The Parking Lot Social, coming to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, beginning on Thursday, July 2, at the famous Southfork Ranch. This limited-engagement event modernizes the traditional drive-in experienced through a supersized, multi-sensory attraction. Guests will enjoy ‘Car-A-Oke,’ silent disco, live bands, interactive trivia, stand-up comedians, food, drinks, and a whole bunch more!

The Parking Lot Social represents a real evolution in the ‘drive-in’ experience and each tour stop will offer five nights of incomparable entertainment with the emphasis on having a fantastic night out while maintaining social distancing recommendations.

At the event’s core, and setting it apart from a traditional drive-in experience, is its unique, custom designed performance space. This spectacular installation is a blend of art and technology and consists of a fully covered stage, two 40 ft. screens, a 52 ft. tall rainbow-shooting fire hydrant and two, larger than life, inflatable ‘Parking Lot Social’ gorillas. Not only does the space look amazing, it’s capable of comfortably hosting up to 250 cars at each event. In a unique twist, audio will be transmitted directly from the stage to custom-made wireless headphones, which will be supplied to all guests. This is just one of the ultra-modern immersive elements being pushed by the promoters as they seek to reinvent what ‘a night at the drive in’ really means.

This philosophy carries through to the amazing blend of entertainment that has been packed into each event night. Calling on their 15 years of experience in programming and curating entertainment at major music festivals, clubs and colleges, the team behind The Parking Lot Social have put together an exciting mix of classic and cutting edge concepts to help guarantee a unique and unforgettable night out with the emphasis on the interactive and the immersive. Some of the highlights of this program include:

  • Car-A-Oke – A live band, two giant screens, and the star of the show… YOU! Sing loud and proud from the comfort of your car and come together in one mass, slightly out of tune, singalong.
  • Headphone Disco DJ Battle – Bringing the festival favorite to the parking lot, guests use wireless headphone technology to select their DJ of choice with some awesome battles scheduled.
  • Boom Boom Bingo – It’s not your grandma’s bingo! There will be numbers called, and prizes won but get ready for our unique, party twist on the theme. A high energy interpretation of the classic game.
  • Themed Trivia – Prove your trivia prowess as we test your knowledge on various subjects and themes while competing with the entire crowd for prizes. Download the app in advance and grab those prizes.
  • Parking LOL – Relieve some stress through the medicine of laughter, as a variety of stand-up acts will ensure endless LOLs in your car at this dedicated stand-alone event.
  • Midnight Movies – Friday & Saturday nights will offer patrons the opportunity of an extra session and enjoy the drive-in movie experience with Midnight Movies on The Parking Lot Social screens.As well as evening and late-night events, The Parking Lot Social will also be hosting two dedicated family events going by the name of ‘Social Kids’. Running through the day each Saturday and Sunday, these will feature all the same entertainment but adapted for a family audience. There will be a strong ‘Parents v Kids’ theme running throughout the Social Kids events and a fun, safe day out for the entire family is guaranteed.

    When hunger hits for the guests of The Parking Lot Social there will be an opportunity to sample some of the best food available locally at the event’s dedicated food village. Social distancing protocols will be in place for all food ordering, delivery and handling. Stay safe!

    The event was the creation of Grahame Ferguson and Cameron Craig, founders of XL Event Labs. Ferguson discusses what is to be expected in the 2020 summer tour of The Parking Lot Social:

    “The Parking Lot Social has been designed with a special emphasis on the event being immersive and interactive. Given that people will be restricted to their cars, this aspect of the event becomes super important. Think of it like a mini-festival that takes place right inside your very own car. We’ve used our experience in event production to design and build an amazing looking and completely versatile entertainment hub. Everything you’ll see is custom designed, from the stage set up to the screens. The entertainment we’ve programmed is second to none and features experiences and shows that we’ve put on stage at major music festivals, club,s and colleges around the world. It’s a crazy night out that’s SAFE at the same time. You’ll be ‘socially distant’ but 100 percent together with hundreds of other funseekers.

    Tickets start at $29 for The Parking Lot Social, Social Kids, and Midnight Movies. They will be available online beginning May 27. For tickets and the complete The Parking Lot Social schedule, visit:


Southfork Ranch

3700 Hogge Dr Parker, TX 75002


The Parking Lot Social

Thursday, July 2; Friday, July 3; Saturday, July 4; Sunday, July 5


Social Kids

Saturday, July 4; Sunday, July 5


Midnight Movies

Friday, July 3; Saturday, July 4


Amid the new landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and safety for patrons of The Parking Lot Social have been at the forefront in the creation of this event. The entertainment enjoyed at The Parking Lot Social was created for patrons to enjoy without leaving the comfort of their vehicle. Below are the critical safety measures that will ensure the well-being of all attendees throughout the tour:

  • Ticketing & Check-In – All tickets for this event must be purchased online, and there will be no on-site box office. On arrival, customers will display tickets on their dashboard or via their phone, and these tickets will be scanned remotely to allow an utterly contactless check-in procedure.
  • Traffic Light Wristbands – A welcome pack will be placed on each car’s windshield once it has been safely parked. Within that packet will be separately colored wristbands for each attendee. Each color relates to four different 20-minute windows during the event, at which time the person wearing that color can leave their vehicle. This procedure ensures minimum foot traffic and avoids situations where too many people are out of their cars at the one time.
  • Field Capacity – There will be a 250-car capacity per event. Despite the expected demand and the capability to accommodate a much larger number, this capacity allows the management of social distancing most effectively.
  • Line Management – Lines for restrooms and food will be subject to social distancing protocols with customers asked to maintain a safe distance from each other. Stewards will be on hand to advise on this and to make sure that the protocols are respected.
  • Hand Sanitation – Dedicated hand sanitation stations will be positioned at various locations around the event site. All customers will be encouraged to use these any time they leave the car.Don’t forget to catch The Parking Lot Social tour through social media by following on:
  • Facebook:
  • Instagram: @theparkinglotsocial
  • Twitter: @theparkinglotsocial