Five thousand music fans are to pack into the first live gig without social distancing for over a year, as part of research into reopening large events.
Chart-topping indie band Blossoms will headline the sold out concert in a big top in Liverpool’s Sefton Park later.
Everyone must have had a negative Covid test, with the research helping determine how this summer’s festival season can go ahead.
“We’re really excited just to play live,” Blossoms singer Tom Ogden said.
“Especially if we can get our industry back open,” drummer Joe Donovan added on BBC Breakfast.
“It’s been closed for so long with very little support, if any support, so it will be nice to get back and kickstart it again. Get it back on track.”
- The joy of headlining the UK’s first post-lockdown gig
- Clubbers’ joy at returning to the dance floor
The Stockport five-piece will be supported by rising Wigan band The Lathums. Asked how excited he was, frontman Alex Moore told the programme: “I don’t think you can put it into words to be honest.
“We’ve all been cooped up for a year. It’s what we were meant to do, this is what we’ve been working for for years. It’s just an amazing feeling.”
As well as studying any spread of the virus following the event, researchers will examine factors like audience movement and interaction, ventilation, duration, catering and alcohol consumption.
‘I forced the government’
The six-hour gig is being put on by Reading and Leeds festival promoters Festival Republic, whose managing director Melvin Benn said he persuaded the government to add it to the line-up of official pilot events.
“This wasn’t originally in the Events Research Programme, and if I’m honest I sort of forced them to do it because I didn’t think they would get enough data for festivals without it,” he told BBC Radio Merseyside on Friday. “And then they very much agreed.”
The gig follows trial events at a nightclub in a warehouse in the city on Friday and Saturday for 3,000 fans per night. DJs including Fatboy Slim, Sven Vath and The Blessed Madonna topped the bill.
Other official pilot events include the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, where a capacity crowd will watch the final on Sunday.
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