Drive-in movies are back

Bill Murray at the drive-in last year. Murray introduced the night's film, "Groundhog Day." — Jeremy Driesen

The Oak Bluffs select board unanimously approved the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival’s request to continue a drive-in movie series at the YMCA and add some live performances into the mix.

The drive-in would be held Wednesdays through Saturdays, 5:30 to 9:30 pm. Film Festival executive director Brian Ditchfield said the drive-in movies will still have sound through an FM transmitter.

Ditchfield agreed to give the town a narrative of his business plan for the drive-in events, and every two weeks give the town administrator a schedule of events. Select board chair Brian Packish added that in the event of any complaints, deference will be given to the neighbors.

Select board member Jason Balboni said he felt the request was going a bit far with live performances, but Ditchfield assured him there was no amplified music other than what would be transmitted to cars and radios.

In addition to movies, Ditchfield said there would be some standalone performances, such as dance numbers. “It’s a way for them to be able to perform outdoors and in a safe way. There would be evenings that would not be movies, but predominantly we’re talking films, much like we did last year,” Ditchfield said. 

While the board’s approval was only for an entertainment license, Ditchfield said he is looking to have food trucks at the drive-ins as well.

Packish said the event sells out quickly, and wished the Film Festival good luck. “It’s a great thing you guys are putting together. Hopefully we can grow at a pace that keeps everybody healthy, and it can continue. I think this would be a great thing to survive the pandemic and be part of our community moving forward,” Packish said.