Primavera Sound’s trial for gigs with no social distancing finds no infection rate

"Hopefully this data will pave the way to save live concerts during the COVID pandemic"

Primavera Sound festival’s recent trial for the return of gigs with no social distancing has found no infection rate, the study says.

Last month, the Barcelona festival hailed a successful trial event held in Barcelona, which saw 1,000 people attend an event in a 1,600 capacity venue. The event, dubbed PRIMACOV, was organised by Primavera Sound alongside the Hospital Germans Trias in Barcelona and the Fight AIDS and Infectious Diseases Foundations.

Of the 1,000 participants, 463 ended up attending the concert, with 496 placed in a ‘control group’, with no access to the venue.

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All participants took a same-day antigen COVID-19 test, and after everyone returned eight days later for a follow-up test, there were no positive results among the 463 people who attended the gig, and two positives in the 496 in the ‘control group’.

Primavera
Primavera Sound 2019. Credit: Jordi Vidal/Redferns

“Attending a live music concert staged with a series of security measures that included a negative antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 done on the same day, was not associated with an increase in COVID-19 infections,” the authors of the study revealed in a statement, going on to add: “Hopefully this data will pave the way to save live concerts during the COVID pandemic.”

Authors Boris Revollo and Josep M Llibre also said they believed that the rapid testing employed at their event could be easily rolled out at other live music events as well.

Primavera’s study isn’t the only successful look into the return of live music. Recent tests conducted in Germany into the transmission of coronavirus at indoor concerts found that the environment poses a “low-to-very low” risk to attendees of contracting the disease, while another found that the risk of infecting someone in a venue “through aerosol transmission can be almost ruled out”, providing that the venue has a sufficient fresh-air supply and that all attendees are wearing face masks.

London’s legendary 100 Club is also set to pilot a new ventilation system that aims to wipe out 99.99% of dangerous airborne pathogens, such as coronavirus, within buildings. The aim of the trial is “to prove that the integration of this new system into a building’s air conditioning creates an indoor environment that is COVID-secure, allowing audience numbers to return to a pre-pandemic normal for Britain’s 1,100 theatres and thousands of live music venues”.

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Speaking to NME this month, festival bosses and gig promoters discussed the prospect of live music returning this summer.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic and boss of events including Reading & Leeds and Download Festival, told NME: “I feel very positive because I know that it’s possible”.

Benn continued: “I’m super confident about the end of the summer, I’m super confident about the beginning of the summer. If everyone over the age of 60, or definitely the age of 50, is vaccinated by the end of May, then Jesus – there should be no stopping us.”

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