Declan McKenna and Kaiser Chiefs to close Newcastle’s socially distanced arena

The Virgin Media Unity Arena has been hosting socially distanced gigs for the last month

Declan McKenna and Kaiser Chiefs are set to close the UK’s first socially distanced arena in Newcastle this weekend.

The Virgin Money Unity Arena, located at Gosforth Park, has held gigs for the last month, including an opening pair of shows from Sam Fender.

Kaiser Chiefs will play the arena’s penultimate show on Saturday (September 19), before recent NME cover star McKenna closes the series the following evening.

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“We are delighted with how the event has worked out and we’re extremely grateful to Newcastle City Council and to all local residents,” festival organiser Steve Davis said of the closing of the festival. “Their positive can-do attitude has helped employ over 150 people in the local music industry for the last six weeks.

“We plan to make these final shows a big celebration for the city and its music fans. We are delighted with the line-up that will bring the event to a fitting finale.”

Sam Fender at the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle. Credit: Getty

Sam Fender spoke to NME after opening the arena last month, branding his native Geordies as “trailblazers.” “I’m proud that it’s our region that’s done it and proud that it’s the Geordies that are the trailblazers,” he said. “I hope that it can keep going because people are dying for live music and I’m happy to play in whatever capacity we possibly can until this all blows over.

“There was only 2500 people in a space that would usually fit 20,000 and it still felt enormous because people were screaming louder than they usually would and they needed it. It’s wonderful, so I hope we can keep it going.”

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Reviewing Fender’s show, NME‘s Becca Fergus wrote: Fans watch in groups of five from 500 individual platforms set metres apart – the venue has been specially created to bring a bit of joy back into our lives. The lights dim and the outdoor arena fills with the dearly missed familiar buzz of shrieking music fans.”

Other acts set to play at the Virgin Money Unity Arena this week include The Hunna (September 14), Joel Corry (16), Chase & Status (17) and Jack Savoretti (18).

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