Drive-in cinemas have been hugely popular in America for decades, but now the phenomenon has reached our shores thanks to Street Food Circus.
Back in June, the Welsh Government gave the go-ahead for outdoor cinemas to take place, but plans for Street Food Cinema have been in the making for a while. This year has been like no other, with many businesses having to think on their feet and come up with inventive new ways for people to enjoy the little things in life (safely).
Outdoor screenings regularly take place across Wales throughout the summer months, but a drive-in cinema? Now that’s different… so we were lucky enough to be invited along to check it out.
So what can you expect, how does it all work?
First off, you need to select a film and book your tickets, and this is probably the hardest part of the process in terms of deciding what you want to watch.
The screenings include a mix of well-loved classics, like Pulp Fiction, Grease and Dirty Dancing, with newer releases such as the Joker and Sing. More films will be announced in the coming weeks for the remainder of August.
You book your tickets online and include your car registration details, along with the contact details of yourself and any passengers – for contact tracing purposes, if they are ever needed.
Evening showings will run on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with additional matinee showings on Friday and Saturday afternoons. A ticket for one car with up to five people costs £30.
Tickets are now on sale for showings for the first half of August, with space for 64 cars per show.
Finding the cinema
The cinema is located at the covered site at Splott Market has been designed to allow for a fun and safe night out, so it doesn’t matter if it rains, you’re outdoors… but not outdoors.
You will enter the cinema via the Lewis Road entrance and exit via Guest Road following the performance. We noticed a few people having trouble locating the entrance, so double check before leaving. You will be given a time slot to arrive from, usually 30 minutes before the start of the film.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted at staff at the gates who will then direct you into one of the parking bays.
Tuning your radio
Although the cinema will have speakers at the front of the screen, it’s recommended that you tune your radio to 87.9FM upon entering. This will allow you not only to benefit from crystal clear audio for the film, but the Street Food Cinema team will also be blasting out some killer tunes from their house DJ. You’ll also hear about all of the important health and safety stuff too.
To save time, you can tune your radio before arriving.
Ordering your food
You can bring your own food and drinks, that’s allowed of course, but there is also some tasty local independent street food favourites such as Franks and Dirty Bird to choose from.
Street Food Cinema has also teamed up with Welsh producers Joe’s Ice Cream and Blakes Popcorn to complete the authentic movie night experience with an at-car usher service – no rustling of the popcorn at this cinema!
All food and soft drinks can be ordered using your smartphone and a cashless system will be in operation. When you park up, a QR code sticker will be placed on your vehicle’s mirror, which you can scan and start ordering. You will be given a car park space number, which acts as your table number when ordering. It’s all very simple to do and the Foxy Roxy’s deliver your food straight to your car, so no need to get out, unless you want to use the toilet.
Would we go again?
Yes we would! It’s an experience like no other and it’s only here for a limited time. The initial ticket (per car price) may look a little expensive, but when you divide the cost up with those in your car, it really isn’t.
You can bring your own food and drink if you want, but I do recommend trying and supporting some of the local independents while you are there.
We were lucky enough to be parked at the front of the screen, so our view wasn’t obstructed in any way. The organisers have said that the screen will be raised for showings with more vehicles, so everyone has a fair view of the screen. It isn’t a massive screen, but what you’re paying for is a rare experience that transports you to perhaps a different era with an American drive-in cinema feel.
For those worrying about your car batteries dying, don’t. They recommend that you turn off your engines, but if you’re worried, you can turnover your car for a few minutes. The Street Food Circus team are great and are on hand if you have any issues!