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Non-socially distanced music festival to be trialed

The United Kingdom is set to trial a non-socially distanced outdoor concert with 5,000 attendees in a bid to get audiences back to live events safely this summer, the British government announced in a statement on Sunday.

British music promoter Festival Republic will host an outdoor gig at Sefton Park in Liverpool, England, on May 2 with 5,000 people without social distancing or requirements to wear face-coverings. However, ticket holders will be required to take a “rapid lateral flow test” at a local testing center before entry to trial the role these facilities could play in the return of large-scale events.

According to the statement, researchers on site will “examine the movements and behaviour of the crowd.” The pilot gig is part of a research program to establish how all venues, including major sport stadiums, theaters, wedding venues, conference centers and nightclubs, could operate safely this summer. The immediate future of live music and events has remained uncertain amid the coronavirus pandemic, with several scheduled festivals and events, including Glastonbury music festival, canceled for this year. According to the statement, a first scientific trial began on Saturday with the World Snooker Championships. The Championships are due to run until May 3, welcoming up to 1,000 spectators a day to the Sheffield Crucible Theatre in northern England, to test an indoor seated setting.

In the statement, UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We’re one step closer to a summer of live events now our science-led programme is underway. Testing different settings and looking at different mitigations is key to getting crowds back safely. “The Sefton Park pilot is an important addition to the programme. After many months without live audiences, Festival Republic are bringing live music back to fans with this very special event and I hope it won’t be too much longer until gigs are back for good,” he added. Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said: “These pilots will inform our approach to ensuring future big events can take place safely. By trialling a range of measures to reduce transmission, we are able to gather vital evidence to inform our plans for allowing events in the future.”

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