The Hidden Drive-In brings cinema to Central Ohio’s waterfronts. Credit: Courtesy of Joey Hendrickson

The Hidden Drive-In, a program that showcases live concerts and films around the city, is launching a new socially distanced event that brings film to the water. 

On Saturday, The Hidden Drive-In is presenting “Water Cinema,” an event in which guests can rent paddleboards and kayaks to enjoy an outdoor movie. High-lumen films will be projected onto a giant screen which can be viewed from land or water, according to the program’s Facebook page. 

Joey Hendrickson, creator of the Hidden Drive-In, said the location will be revealed once a ticket is purchased, which is available through Eventbrite. He said upon arrival to the event, there will be adventure guides to walk guests through the process of getting into the water, where life jackets will be provided. An optional BBQ dinner will be available for guests.

Hendrickson, a marketing and technology consultant and an Ohio State alumnus, created the Hidden Drive-In alongside Robert Ng, the operating partner for the Hidden Drive-In and a paddleboard instructor.  

Hendrickson said he founded two nonprofits that support entertainment and economic development through the arts — the Columbus Songwriters Association and the Columbus Music Commission — and in February he started to receive requests for help from musicians. 

“I started getting calls from musicians that had lost 20 gigs this summer because of the pandemic, and so I set out to invent a way to do pop-up concerts in parking lots using Bluetooth technology,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson said he started inventing a mobile Bluetooth capability in February that allows users to listen to the show directly through their phones so they don’t have to be in their vehicle. He said it was hard to create, but once he had launched it, he began to showcase it at these socially distanced events.

He said that the Hidden Drive-In presents at different locations depending on the type of music, demand and capacity of the event to make sure that it does not disrupt the downtown community. 

“We have a 25-foot screen and a stage with all the different audio technologies and each show has a band and a movie. I think we were one of the first to do parking lot concerts, and we presented over 30 of those this summer,” Hendrickson said.

Ng said that since he’s been on the water so much this year, he and Hendrickson wanted to move the event to the water.

“We have the equipment to do everything wherever we want to, so we were inspired to take it out on the waterways here in central Ohio,” Ng said.

Ng said that the Hidden Drive-In has hosted a couple of trial sessions with just family and friends to test it out but that this weekend will be the first time “Water Cinema” will be presented to the public in central Ohio. 

Ng said that the location is close to campus, and he hopes to hold more events as long as the weather allows it. 

“I think what I’ve experienced is that this summer there’s been more people than ever wanting to get healthy and wanting to get away from masses of humans, and being out on the water I think is the best solution,” Ng said.

The Hidden Drive-In’s “Water Cinema” will take place Saturday from 4-11 p.m. To get tickets for the event, prospective attendees can log onto Eventbrite and rent a kayak or paddleboard that costs $60-$70. Guests are also invited to bring their own equipment. After purchasing a ticket, guests will receive an email with the details about the location and parking. For additional information and more updates on events launched by the Hidden Drive-In, visit its Facebook page @HiddenDriveIn.