1st October 2020

The Hot Topic – Are Socially Distanced Festivals & Outdoor Concerts the Future?

Festival season is coming to an end, which has meant many venues have been forced to postpone their events until 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

But with many festival and concert goers missing the atmosphere and live music from these gatherings, some venues have taken a different approach to ensure fans get this experience before 2021.

Back in July, the Government announced more restrictions were to be relaxed meaning pubs were reopening and socially distanced mass gatherings were being permitted. So, a venue being called the Virgin Money Unity Arena headlined an artist at their pop-up amphitheatre on the grounds of Gosforth Park in Newcastle Upon Tyne. This was branded the first socially distanced concert and allowed 2,500 fans to watch the artist live. In order for this to have worked they constructed 500 separate elevated platforms all of which were strategically placed 2 metres apart.

Since then, socially distanced festivals have popped up, with fans and festival goers restricted to their own separate pitches all positioned to be compliant with social distancing guidelines. To reduce large numbers of ingress and egress, staggering arrival and departure times are given to the customers as well as one-way footpaths separated by physical barriers to keep the flow movement running smoothly.

In order to keep people within their respective pods during these events and allow for smooth movement around the premises whilst still adhering to social distancing guidelines, temporary security measures are being used to create protective barriers. During festivals and concerts many individuals may forget about their social distancing promises but with physical temporary safety measures separating these groups, the risk of transmission is reduced massively.

But we ask; is this a preview into what concerts and festivals will look like in the future? Traditional festivals and concerts have seen fans crammed into a tiny space for hours on end, many experiencing injury from being pushed against railings to being pushed over and trampled on. This new socially distanced layout sees everyone within their own bubble with seats and space to move all behind their very own protective barrier. The new layout keeps safety and security at the forefront without compromising on the live music.

So, should this be the new normal for concerts and festivals for the foreseeable and not just during a global pandemic?