The Future Of Socially Distanced Gigs Has Arrived, And It Looks Kinda Great
"This looks incredible to me, an elderly millennial."
With the UK’s first custom-built COVIDsafe concert venue launching this week, the footage of the seated, private viewing spaces has a lot of people who can’t be bothered with mosh pits or hours of standing very excited.
Launching on Tuesday night with a performance from Sam Fender, the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle is an outdoor venue that resembles a standard festival set-up albeit with one difference — each attendee party gets their own private viewing pen with chairs and a little cooler for drinks. Those further back are elevated up, too.
As per NME, 2,500 punters attended the gig, spread out across the platforms which were spaced two metres apart. Up to five people could be on one platform.
Toilet, bar and food facilities are accessed via a one-way aisle system, and food and drinks were pre-ordered to prevent contact as much as possible.
By all accounts, this was far-flung from a Chainsmokers or Smash Mouth set. It seems like social distancing was a success at the event — plus no nightmare footage of drunken punters crowding together has popped up on social media, as it’s now wont to do.
More concerts are planned for the Newcastle venue, featuring the likes of The Libertines, Van Morrison and Two Door Cinema Club. And with footage and images circulating from the event, a lot of punters are excited by the premise of not only a genuinely COVIDsafe concert, but the chance to sit down at one too.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for seated festivals,” wrote @ChasingDestinee in a widely shared tweet.
Find a couple more reactions below, from both punters present and those speculating on how the festival’s set-up might actually secretly be the best of both worlds.
I’ve been waiting my whole life for seated festivals https://t.co/r6DZmvs2f1
— police do not provide public safety. (@ChasingDestinee) August 12, 2020
Sam Fender in Newcastle tonight. It all looks very strange but fair play to the organisers for finding a way to get live music out there again. pic.twitter.com/cofezOiLyp
— Sarah (@StageySarah) August 11, 2020
The UK's first socially distanced gig happened in Newcastle last night.
500 separate raised metal platforms, each accommodating up to five people from the same family/household. Hand sanitizer station and mini fridge included. Singing allowed too! pic.twitter.com/49pp1EnVFj
— Ian Dempsey (@IanDempsey) August 12, 2020
Super interesting /weird that Sam Fender is having a 2500 capacity concert with “scaffolds” for groups of 5 to stay in/it’s people you know. It’s a huge venue so it’s possible to social distance but. Y’all it’s not time.
— VICKY 🌺💐🌼🥀 (@themainevicky) August 11, 2020
Big up Newcastle, big up Sam Fender!!!! We have just got home, I’ve drove over 8 hours today and it was all worth it! I didn’t think I’d get to see the big man himself this year after my tickets for Birmingham were sold without me knowing and then Covid19 🤷♂️ Today was just epic!! pic.twitter.com/fK4ve5P5oo
— Jonathan Morgan (@jonathanamorgan) August 12, 2020
listen this looks incredible to me, an elderly millennial https://t.co/0yXPV5ApY3
— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) August 12, 2020