A concert held in the English city of Newcastle may demonstrate how socially-distant concerts will work in the future. Singer-songwriter Sam Fender's recent show at Virgin Money Unity Arena saw 2500 people take their places in 500 metal enclosures on raised platforms in a pop-up venue in Gosforth Park.

Sam Fender 2.jpg
Fans watched the gig in metal enclosures on raised platforms © Thomas M Jackson/Redferns

The concert is the UK's first live music event since the COVID-19 lockdown began, and is the first in a series of shows that will take place at the venue in the coming weeks. Other performers due to perform there in August and September include Van Morrison, Bill Bailey, Ronan Keating, Supergrass and Adam Kay. Fans will watch the performances in groups of up to five people from separate viewing platforms, which are situated 6.5ft apart.

A rendering of Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle
The Virgin Money Unity Arena will have socially-distant enclosures © Virgin Money Unity Arena

Having booked tickets and arrived at the car park, guests' cars will be parked at a two-meter distance from each other. Entry will be checked via licence plate to ensure no interaction is needed between venue staff and guests. Concert-goers then join a socially-distanced queuing system for entering the arena. They are shown to their personal enclosure, from which order food and drink can be ordered, and there is also an option to pre-order refreshments before they arrive.

When the show ends, attendees are advised to keep their distance from others, and staff will direct them back to their car and give them directions to safely exit the site. The socially-distant events have been organized by Virgin Money and SSD Concerts, who reported that the Sam Fender gig was a great success, and further information is available from the website here.

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