NORTHUMBERLAND — David Renn is turning to music in an effort to keep the last drive-in theater in the Valley open.
Renn, in his 25th year of owning the Point Drive-In, said he hopes a three-day open-air rock festival at the Point Township site can help his business survive.
Drive-ins can’t show 35mm films anymore. They are simply not being made. Everything is digital, and drive-ins cannot run first-rate movies on antiquated equipment.
“So in order to stay alive, we need to get a digital projector,” Renn said Monday. “With our multiple screens, it would cost us about $200,000 to get the digital equipment we need.”
According to drive-ins.com, there are only 27 drive-ins remaining in Pennsylvania, most which opened in the 1940s and 1950s. More than 200 have closed. The only other drive-ins open in the region are the Midway Drive-In in Mifflintown, the Pike Drive-In outside of Montgomery on Route 15, and the Garden Drive-In, north of Shickshinny on Route 11.
Renn in May said there are only 392 drive-ins left in the United States.
To try to raise money for the digital equipment, Renn’s cousin, Nathan Roush, had a brainstorm.
“I’d been planning to stage a rock concert,” he said. “I wanted to save a culture, keep this small, local business alive, and hopefully help buy the needed digital equipment. David offered us his space, since the drive-in movie season was over.”
And thus the idea of the Jackalope Festival was born.
Concessions will be handled by the drive-in staff.
So far, 20 bands have agreed to play during the Oct. 10-12 festival, the music running the gamut from rock to country and blues. They’ll perform on a 20 foot stage underneath a 30 by 70 foot tent.
People can buy a ticket for the entire three days — $50 a person, with children 12 and under free — and camp out for the three days. Or buy a single day ticket for $30 a person.
For more information, visit the Jackalope facebook page.