Lewis Capaldi and Stereophonics respond to criticism for playing arena gigs amid coronavirus fears

Mass gatherings are expected to be banned soon.

Lewis Capaldi and Stereophonics have defended their decisions to play huge arena shows this weekend amidst health scares around the spread of coronavirus.

As the spread of coronavirus outbreak continues to lead many countries into quarantine, many gigs, tours, festivals and events have been cancelled for public safety – while the UK is expected to soon ban all mass events and gatherings.

However, Capaldi’s sold-out gig to an 11,000-strong crowd in Aberdeen has been met with criticism – especially with Scotland’s advice on not putting on events or gatherings of more than 500 people to help deal with the pandemic coming in to play just hours later.


Speaking to the crowd, Capaldi said: “We’ve all probably got coronavirus. Wash your fucking hands, Aberdeen. Wash your fucking hands.”

Despite widespread criticism, a spokesman for Capaldi has since defended the show – arguing that the event was fully in accordance with the Scottish government’s advice and guidelines.

“The final show of Lewis’s UK arena tour in Aberdeen on Sunday March 15 went ahead in full compliance with the advisory document on mass gatherings issued by the Scottish government at 1pm on the same day,” a spokesman told NME. “The document states that the advice applies from Monday March 16, and is ‘not expected to have a significant impact on the spread of COVID-19, and this is not its purpose,’ but that it aims ‘to relieve pressure on public services, including emergency services.’ Security, first aid, medical and welfare teams were paid for by the organisers as normal and the venue had additional signage in place to highlight best practice on hygiene during the event.

“We’d like to thank everyone who came along to Aberdeen and the other tour dates for welcoming Lewis so warmly.”


Kelly Jones of Stereophonics performs at O2 Kentish Town Forum
Kelly Jones of Stereophonics performs at O2 Kentish Town Forum on January 21, 2020 in London, England. CREDIT: Jo Hale/Getty Images for Bauer Media

Many have also questioned Stereophonics’ decision to play their show at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. After the band shared footage from the gig on social meda, many fans from quarantined countries such as Italy, Spain and other affected European countries voiced their disappointment and anger.

“Guys… I live in France ,” wrote one fan on Twitter. “I’ve loved the band and your music since the beginning but this is irresponsible . The virus is spreading fast and has no frontiers.”

Another added: “This is so selfish, the people in the audience here are unlikely to be in high risk groups (they’re younger), but they could spread it to older friends, relatives and co-worker.”

Cardiff in beautiful voice tonight! #stereophonics #kind2020tour

Posted by Stereophonics on Saturday, March 14, 2020

Defend their decision, a band spokesman told NME: “Along with the rest of the country, we watched the prime minister and chief science and medical officer brief the nation on Thursday evening regarding the government’s policy and advice on Coronavirus. The UK government’s position was that at this phase there was no need for a ban on large public gatherings.

“Acting on this guidance, we continued with the last three shows of our UK tour on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as did many other events across the entertainment industry.”

Morrissey also played a gig at London’s SSE Arena, Wembley, with a spokesman telling fans ahead of the event why the show would go on.

“The most recent government advise issued today is that there are no restrictions on mass gatherings or community events,” they said. “The Morrissey show at Londons SSE arena on Saturday is scheduled to take place and is ON. We urge all fans to follow government advise and stay at home if you have any symptoms of the coronavirus or feel unwell.”

Credit: Getty

Blossoms, IDLES and Jon Hopkins are among the latest names to postpone events and tours across the UK due to the pandemic.

Last night, leading US stars such as Lady GagaTaylor Swift and Miley Cyrus urged their fans to stay at home and self-isolate in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak. They follow Ariana Grande, who previously urged fans to take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously.