April 27 might have been the hottest day that San Marcos has seen so far this year, but that didn’t stop the residents at Kissing Tree from having a good time at our first ever drive-by concert. Organized by our amazing lifestyle director Kevin Wilson, the concert featured Cactus Flats, a high-energy country rock band, touring around every street in the Kissing Tree neighborhood on a flat-bed trailer.
We Will Rock You
How did this event even come about?! Well, Kevin started planning the concert in March, after KT’s traditional music events were sidelined by the quarantine. While the lifestyle team has kept up the community fun with things like a virtual bocce ball tournament and a writing contest, Kevin wanted to host a socially distanced live event that would give people something to look forward to. Enter Cactus Flats, a popular local band that had been scheduled to play at a Tuesday night party at The Mix, featuring two Kissing Tree residents, Scott Martin and Mark Burroughs.
Ticket to Ride
Cactus Flats is known for getting people moving with country hits and classic rock and roll, but this was the first time they’d played while moving. The trailer had been decorated with fun signs made by the social committee and staff—our favorites said “Show Your Mask” and “Find Joy.” It was a challenge to amplify the band’s gear, amp, and speakers, but a gas-powered generator stowed in the back of the truck did the trick. The original plan was to have the truck circle the neighborhood four times, but it was soon clear that it would be better for both the band and the audience if the truck drove more slowly.
Community Manager Skyler Jewell was tasked with driving the truck, and it was a responsibility he took very seriously. “I’ve actually played tuba on a carriage before,” Skyler told us. As part of a brass band in his hometown of St. George, Utah, Skyler took part in many parades. “This was a lot of fun because it brought back those community feelings for me,” Skyler said. “Even though I’m not a resident at Kissing Tree, I feel like I am part of the community.” Kevin rode alongside on his bike so he could pause to talk to residents and help out where needed.
Come Together, Right Now
Kissing Tree residents were out in full force to enjoy the concert, with many folks having social distancing parties in their driveways. “I was looking forward to it all day,” said KT resident Liz Bounds. “I was giddy. You could hear them come up the other street. I felt like a little kid. I can’t even explain it.” Liz and her neighbors on Leaping Holly got chairs, drinks, and snacks set up early so they could visit from a safe distance and wait for the band.
“It was so fun watching the people dancing and enjoying the music,” Skyler told us. “It was good to see life back in the community. Of course people are walking and active, but this event brought that spark that is Kissing Tree back into view. It was great to see the individuality and the camaraderie of the residents.”
Different pockets of the community were dressed up to celebrate the event and show off their diverse personalities. “One group was rocking out in colored wigs,” Skyler reported, “and another group dressed in pajamas. One lady had toilet paper roll curlers in her hair! Everybody did their part to bring happiness and joy—it was very much needed. You could see how appreciative everyone was and how much fun they were having.”
You Shook Me All Night Long
Kevin estimates that 65-70% of the community took part in the event, and the band also had a blast. “Every street was loaded with people,” Skyler said. “It was fun to have the opportunity to drive around and interact during this time when everything is stressful and challenging. It was a beautiful uplift for me as well. This community draws people that draw people. It’s really awesome.”
Because the trailer had to go so slowly, the concert ended up only making about 2 laps through the community, but that didn’t seem to hamper anyone’s enjoyment. “Residents had huge smiles on their faces,” Kevin told us. “I got a little dehydrated after riding my bike for three hours, but it was worth it!”
Liz Bounds agrees: “It was so hot! I felt sorry for the band, with the sun beating down on them, but it was so fun! It happened so quickly, they were just going about 5 mph, and we were cheering the whole time! It just feels really special. As a resident, they take good care of us. It’s really fun.”
Don’t Stop Believin’
So what’s next? Kevin is currently working on getting the live music back and trying to reschedule bands for alternative dates. He hopes that by late summer, it might be possible to have live music at The Mix again. “We talked about doing another drive-by concert, but that one was so unique,” Kevin said. “I don’t know if there’s anything we could do to top it!”