A ‘socially distanced’ concert — is this the future for music lovers?

Click to play video: 'UK’s first socially distanced outdoor concert held in Newcastle' UK’s first socially distanced outdoor concert held in Newcastle
The U.K.’s first socially distanced outdoor concert was held at the Virgin Money Unity Arena, in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, on Aug. 11. – Aug 13, 2020

It’s been so long since we’ve been able to attend concerts that it’s hard to picture ever going back to the pre-coronavirus days of sweaty mosh pits and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. It’s likely going to be a while before we get back to that carefree state — if ever.

The U.K. held an outdoor “socially distanced” concert on Tuesday, the country’s first since COVID-19 spread around the world. Approximately 2,500 fans gathered at Virgin Money Unity Arena in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, with a show by English singer-songwriter Sam Fender.

Images and video of the concert quickly went viral; instead of people standing side by side in a large mass, it featured 500 separate viewing areas, most on raised metal platforms. The areas are roughly six feet apart and can accommodate up to five people, all of whom must arrive in the same vehicle.

Read more: This might be the Space Age suit you wear to concerts during COVID-19

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The venue’s website lists a number of rules about food and drink — that must be pre-ordered on phones — and a physically distanced queuing system for entering the arena after parking.

Guests are also not permitted to leave the platforms unless they’re going to use the bathrooms, which can be found at the end of each row of viewing areas.

Social media users seemed to embrace the idea, saying the concept of distanced concerts is appealing.

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As of this writing, there are no venues in Canada currently offering this option, though some concerts have been held at drive-in theatres to great success.


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