Pilot Concert In Barcelona Researches Bringing Entertainment Back
A pioneering concert in Barcelona took place on 27th March, as a means to better understand the coronavirus implications in large entertainment settings.
How they did it
The pilot gig at Saint Jordi Arena consisted of all audience members taking a rapid Covid test at three local venues and getting a negative result prior to the concert. This was undertaken by a combination of local hospital staff, as well as entertainment workers who teamed up to perform the rapid testing. At the gig itself, staff checked temperatures and the ID of all guests on entering the venue with the proof of a negative test. While there was no social distancing at the event, all attending were required to wear masks.
The research project hopes to find definitive answers to making large similar events safe in the near future by implementing the rapid tests to those in attendance as a means of gatekeeping audiences and proving the health of gig-goers. A previous event that had similarly taken place earlier in March was much in the same vein held in the Netherlands. Ultimately, researchers had implemented the same factors and conditions at an experimental two day music festival in order to test the safety of this scenario.
Reporting on the festival in Biddinghuizen near Amsterdam, Anna Holligan from the BBC attended to find out more. She noted that 1,500 ticket holders were permitted entry to the event, and were required to follow the same procedures outlined in the Barcelona concert: all needed proof of a negative test result and masks were required to be worn – however interestingly, most in attendance at the Dutch festival did not appear to be wearing masks, as shown in her video report below.
The report also raised poignant questions of ethics and the morality of using those in attendance as guinea pigs to test these conditions should the outcome be less than safe for such a large number of people. At the Dutch event, motion sensors in lanyards were given to the festival-goers in order to enable scientists to retrospectively monitor their movements and observe any correlation in the end results of the experiment, which will require all members of the audience to be tested once again in the week following the event.
As with the Barcelona attendees who will be observed in the 14 days following the gig, if the results prove to be successful, and if low numbers of the crowd test positive for Covid in the time that follows then the repercussions could be considerable. The potential for opening up the arts and entertainment industry in Europe and the UK once more, which has now been closed for over a year would be a very welcome development. To date, as of April 2021, the UK has encountered 3 official lockdowns, much like while most of mainland Europe, which has suffered second and third waves of the virus.
If the experiments prove to be conclusive, then they could provide a great deal of hope for the near future, and positively impact a great number of people both returning to work and socialising once more. The European music industry lost 76% of its income in this last year. Hopefully the experiments are bringing us a little closer to better times ahead.