Memorial Day Drive-In Concert
Memorial Day Drive-In Concert Benefits Long Beach Veterans
Boxcar 7, a popular blues, soul and R&B band, will perform an afternoon Memorial Day drive-in concert this year.
But only 50 vehicle spaces are available in the Long Beach Scottish Rite parking lot, and only those with advance tickets will be allowed in for the four-hour party on May 31.
The concert is the brainchild of Frank and Katherine McIlquham, founders of Rock For Vets, sometimes known as The Rock Club — Music Is The Remedy. Frank McIlquham launched the nonprofit more than a decade ago, using music and the chance to play as a remedy for the trauma military veterans often face.
Memorial Day, the federal holiday honoring those who have died serving in the U.S. military, has been important to Rock For Vets since the beginning, with the organization hosting fundraising concerts on the holiday. And from 2016 to 2019, a pancake breakfast/concert on Memorial Day was the primary Rock For Vets fundraiser.
The coronavirus pandemic nixed that last year.
“We had nothing last year,” Katherin McIlquham wrote in an email. “Instead, I ran The OC Half Marathon virtually around Signal Hill to raise funds in lieu of Applebee’s (where the pancake breakfast took place). We called it the 13.1 Miles for Music appeal.”
Before the pandemic, Rock For Vets often put different combos together to play public events, often with the help of “head coach” Jerry Salas, a Vietnam vet and star in the band El Chicano. But there have been no rehearsals since the pandemic began, and likely won’t be any until later this summer, Frank McIlquham said.
So he turned to Boxcar 7, a seven-piece show band that has appeared at multiple Blues and Jazz festivals, including the Uptown Jazz Fest in North Long Beach.
Helene Weinberg, program director at the Senior Arts Colony in Long Beach and San Pedro — and well-known cabaret diva — will be the master of ceremonies. There also will be food trucks available and plenty of drawings for prizes. Performance Plus Tire is the primary sponsor.