UK Holds First Social Distance Concert
Coronavirus and the music industry
Ever since the global spread of the coronavirus has caused the countries around the world to be in lockdowns, many industries have had to stop their operations in an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases. One of the biggest markets of entertainment that was hurt by the shutdowns was the music industry. Concerts are often held indoor with people packed closely together in a room. Even when the concerts are held outdoors, it is still nearly impossible to social distance. Thus, it makes sense that music concert events have been cancelled.
As of August, most countries have begun to ease restrictions and restart their economies while also focusing on preventing local outbreaks and a potential second wave. This restarting includes music event organizers and planners who are now attempting to restart the music industry while keeping fans safe from the virus.
Social distance concert experiment
One of these countries that have been able to flatten their daily confirmed cases curve is the UK. The UK is attempting to have a socially distanced concert at the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, northern England with 2,500 fans. Fans came into groups of up to five to watch Sam Fender, the English rock musician, perform. If this experiment proves that these events can be held safely, event organizers plan to continue to hold entertainment events.
How it works
The enforcement of the safety precautions were strict and precise. Cars entered two meters apart and fans were guided to their private viewing areas. There were approximately 500 of these private viewing areas with a maximum capacity of five in each. Face masks were enforced and drinks were delivered to each area. Food and drinks could be ordered beforehand or via app delivery services.
Organizers on the event
A marketing director at Virgin Money said, “This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans.”
Sam Bender said, “The fact that Newcastle and the Northeast region were the trailblazers on this one, and hopefully this model can go all over the world, I’m really proud of that.” He added, “Just to be back with the crew and back with my band was really cathartic, and really good for the head. Because I think a lot of people have suffered during this lockdown mentally as well as financially. It was almost like a break from reality, which was fantastic.”
Meanwhile, other experiments are being held to restart the entertainment industry economy such as drive through concerts and virtual entertainment events. Some places like the city of Austin have started relief funds and other financial support methods to help local artists during this pandemic.