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Gravesend brothers revved up for drive-in cinema venture

A trip back to the 1950s might seem like an attractive option at the moment - so what better way to escape 2020 than watching Back to the Future at a drive-in cinema?

The classic time-travelling escapade is just one option available for film fans, who next month will be able to drive to new open-air cinema sites at Swanley Park, Ashford Designer Outlet, Canterbury Park and Ride and Betteshanger Park near Deal.

How the drive-in cinemas are expected to look
How the drive-in cinemas are expected to look

Kent Drive In Cinema has been launched by brothers Nick and Dave Whiteoak, who have been supplying large LED screens at open-air events such as Glastonbury and Reading festivals for the last 16 years though their company Video Illusions.

Both originally from Gravesend, the brothers now live in Herne Bay and Canterbury, and have teamed up with Longfield events company Centre Stage Solutions, among others, to help bring their new concept to life.

Nick, 36, explained they realised they had an opportunity in lockdown to supply entertainment throughout Kent.

"We've got a lot of kit lying around, not doing a lot," he said. "People were talking about doing a drive-in cinema and we thought why don't we do it ourselves?

"People have always liked to go to them but they're few and far between. People are looking to go out but they're worried about the two-metre distancing rules.

Brothers Dave (left) and Nick Whiteoak
Brothers Dave (left) and Nick Whiteoak

"This is a perfect way to get people out and about again with a tried and trusted event that people have always enjoyed."

Screenings will start at Swanley Park on July 16, with films such as Jurassic Park, The Lion King, A Star is Born and 1917, among others, being shown until July 26.

Films will then be shown at Betteshanger Park from July 23 to August 16, Canterbury from July 30 to August 16; and at Ashford Outlet Centre from July 24 to August 16.

And with drive-in cinemas having enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, Nick believes there's no reason why the cinemas won't prove popular in the event lockdown restrictions are fully lifted.

"Kent Drive In Cinemas will stay around for sure," he added. "We can get really creative with it.

"It's still massive in America - they go and reverse into their space, lower the tailgate, and they'll be in the back of the truck having a barbecue.

"It would be fantastic for people to be able to do that. We could do the Premier League too if the start of next season is still behind closed doors."

Find out more at www.kentdriveincinema.co.uk

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