The Avett Brothers perform for a sellout crowd in a drive-in concert at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
photographs by Daniel Coston
On a picture-perfect summer evening in late August, fans of folk-rock favorites The Avett Brothers were treated to what’s become a rare event in 2020: a live concert at Charlotte Motor Speedway. More than 1,500 cars, trucks and SUVs packed the parking lot as the hometown stars — brothers Seth and Scott Avett grew up in Concord — played a two-hour set ranging from tracks from their new album, The Third Gleam, all the way back to “Pretty Girl from Matthews” from their 2002 debut, Country Was.
Photographer and SouthPark contributor Daniel Coston, who captured these images, estimates he’s photographed the band 50 or 60 times. “I’ve seen them literally go from playing for 30 people to selling out a crowd of 1,500 cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” Coston says. He first photographed the Avetts in 2001 at the former Fat City Deli in NoDa, right around the time that bass player Bob Crawford joined the band. (Cellist Joe Kwon joined in 2007.)
The show was projected on the speedway’s 16,000-square-foot TV screen to ensure all concertgoers didn’t miss a minute of on-stage action. One couple, who drove from Colorado, got married in the parking lot.
“We’ve all been so starved,” Coston says. “I think we need nights like this to remind us that these things are still possible.”
— Cathy Martin