Outdoor movies, concerts come to downtown GR

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The drive-in is no longer the only option for movie and concert lovers to enjoy events on the big screen. 

A new way to watch comes to downtown Grand Rapids Thursday evening, it’ll give guests a taste of music and movies four months after the pandemic shut it all down. 

Studio C Music Operations Manager Quinn Mathews says these events were created for social distancing and will be putting their new piazza at Studio Park along Oakes Street to good use. 

“We’ve had this outdoor space available since we built Studio Park and we’re really excited to use it,” Mathews said. “We had always thought, we’ll get to that when we’re ready and well here we are now and outdoors feels so much safer.”

Listening Lawn is an extension of the Listening Room, which is not open due to the pandemic. While the Listening Lawn and Sunset Cinema events won’t provide all the traditional amenities of an indoor movie theatre, the experience of watching new releases on the big screen again safely is a draw enough for some. 

“We started with movies which will be offered Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and now every Thursday night there will be a concert happening right out here on the piazza,” Mathews said. “So we’ve got you taken care of four nights a week.”

Things will be different than cinema guests are used to — a minimum of four tickets is required to reserve your space on the lawn even if four guests aren’t in attendance. 

“The idea is an excitement to get back out and about downtown in a safe environment. So, we have our restaurant with servers walking around the piazza that you can flag down to get our full menu and we also have an outdoor bar for drinks. You can also bring your own picnic food, just no beverages,” Mathews said.

Studio C staff will wear personal protective equipment including masks. Guests are asked to do the same though masks can be removed while seated on the lawn. 

Traditional movie snacks like popcorn and pop will be available for purchase with new options provided from nearby restaurant. A cash bar will also be opened. No outside drinks will be allowed.

Customers are required to pre-purchase their tickets online. 

Tickets to Sunset Cinema can be found at celebrationcinema.com or on the Celebration Cinema app.

Tickets for the Listening Lawn concert series can be purchased at ListeningroomGR.com 

Blankets are discouraged but not disallowed. Lawn chairs are not provided and are the preferred option for seating.