First socially distanced concert in the UK offers a glimpse of festivals in the new normal

Attendees were seated on elevated metal platforms spaced two metres apart, each holding a maximum of five people.

Wan Munirah

Published: 14 August 2020, 12:04 PM

The United Kingdom (UK) recently organised its first ever socially distanced concert for 2,500 fans on Aug 11.

Fans were seated on 500 separate platforms, spaced two metres apart, at a pop-up venue in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Each elevated platform held a maximum of five people at a time.

Throughout the concert, headlined by British singer-songwriter Sam Fender, fans had to wear their masks, apart from when they were eating and drinking, and were discouraged from mingling with other attendees from other sections. Fans on the same platform also had to travel to the venue in the same car.

Following the two sold-out concerts by Sam Fender, the world’s “first socially-distanced music venue” – dubbed by concert promoters – is expected to host Northern Irish indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club’s upcoming concert on Aug 15.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, several attempts have been made to revive the live music industry across the world. Similar events include drive-in concerts held in the United States over the summer and socially distanced busking performances held across South Korea.

However, some have attracted criticism for failing to enforce safe distancing precautions. The recent drive-in show by American electronic duo The Chainsmokers in Southampton, New York, showed a handful of concertgoers “dancing in close proximity to one another near the stage“.

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