Steve Cotton, one
of the owners of the 49er, said Buffett’s benefit concert comes at a time
when drive-ins face having to come up with $75,000 to $100,000 to buy
digital equipment now that movies on film are being phased out.
which once numbered well over 4,000 across the country during their heyday
in the late 1950, are down to fewer than 350. And with the conversion to
digital equipment becoming necessary, many more face closure, Cotton said.
some of the smaller ones that are hanging on by a thread, it’s going to be
the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Cotton said, adding that the 49er is
fortunate enough to have been able to pay for the switch to digital.
operating the 49er is a labor of love. One of his best memories from
childhood is of his dad coming home from work and saying, “Let’s load up the
car. We’re going to the drive-in.”
Cotton, his wife,
Phyllis, his brother Mike, and a dedicated staff make sure the show goes on
seven nights a week during the summer, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
during the spring and fall.