When the coronavirus pandemic started, the music and hospitality industry were directly affected.
Concerts and live events were canceled all over the world as nations imposed lockdown restrictions and issued stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the lethal virus.
However, as some countries start to relax restrictions, event organizers are figuring out how to restart the music industry and keep fans safe.
The Virgin Money Unity Arena, a new UK pop-up venue, is testing this out. On Tuesday, around 2,500 fans gathered at the outdoor venue for what the organizers described as the UK’s first socially distanced concert.
Groups of up to five turned out to watch musician Sam Fender from one of 500 raised metal platforms at the arena in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, northern England. Several musicians and comedians including Van Morrison, Jimmy Carr, and Bill Bailey will follow suit later in the year in a series of events.
During arrival, social distancing is enforced. Cars are parked two meters apart before concert-goers are guided to their own platformed private viewing areas, while food and drink can be ordered beforehand or via an app for collection or delivery.
“We are delighted to play a part in bringing back live music events as we start to emerge from lockdown,” Helen Page said to PA Media News Agency. Helen Page is the group brand and marketing director at Virgin Money.
“This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans,” Page added.
In the meantime, some organizers are experimenting with virtual events, drive through concerts, mandated personal protective equipment, or temperature checks on arrival.
Concerts and nightlife that we were used to before the pandemic could still be a long way off.