SHINNSTON, W.Va. – On Tuesday, the Sunset Ellis Drive-in kicked its season off with a concert performance by TobyMac , who is widely known for his Christian hip hop recording artist.
TobyMac is on his drive-in tour, he has charted 20 solo singles on Billboards Christian’s song list. The artist has been successful with seven solo career releases and has sold more than 10-million albums winning seven Grammy Awards.
“This music is really the kind of music that, you know, works for young people and older people, you known, it’s just kind of a good mix of everything going on and it has a really good beat to it, keeps everyone pumped up,” said James Coulter, volunteer at the Ellis Sunset Drive-in.
Owners of the drive-in said they have ample space to accommodate guest providing social distancing and a safe atmosphere for them to watch the concert. 300 vehicles were in anticipated with room at the drive-in to house 350 vehicles.
“I’ve been going to the drive-in since I was five, this drive-in since I was five. So, it is great to see it still open and be able to use it in a different way by bringing in a great artist like Toby to come in and perform locally for everybody,” said Derek Weaver, a resident of Shinnston.
Sunset Ellis Drive-in officials also said having TobyMac was a great start of their drive-in season getting people out of their homes for some good wholesome family fun.
“We are going to stay pretty much the COVID restrictions that have been mandated so far. We really haven’t cut back on that yet. We are going to wait until a little more into the season when more of the vaccines are out. So, we just want to protect the people as much as we can. We don’t want people feeling uncomfortable, so we want to respect all that. So, we are going to keep that pretty strict on our end,” said Antoinette Ellis-Casto, daughter of the owner of the Sunset Ellis Drive-in.
Those who were waiting in line to pull into the drive in were excited to be able to partake in a live concert and listen to the band whom they said deliver a powerful message within the Christian faith.
“I love that he makes Christian music fun, and I love that he just brings life to wherever he is at. He is just super real, and he is just so nice,” said Heather Weaver, a resident of Shinnston. “I just think it’s great that they have found a way around COVID to bring music, and to bring crowds together, and to still be able to just help people during these times.”
Last year, the drive-in hosted the areas first outdoor live performance by the Davison Brothers Band during the COVID-19 pandemic.