German scientists announce massive concert experiment to track coronavirus

They're seeking 4,000 fans to attend a concert by singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko

German scientists are planning to kit out 4,000 music fans with bottles of fluorescent disinfectant and tracking devices to get a clear idea of how the spread of coronavirus can be prevented at large indoor concerts.

Researchers in eastern Germany will get the legion of volunteers to attend a concert by singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko at Leipzig’s Concert Hall on August 22.

As The Guardian reports, participants aged between 18 and 50 will be asked to wear a matchstick-sized “contract tracer” device on chains around their necks. The devices will transmit a signal at five-second intervals while also collecting data on each person’s movements and their proximity to other members of the audience.


Once inside, gig-goers will also be asked to disinfect their hands with a fluorescent hand sanitiser, which allows scientists to scour the venue afterwards to identify surfaces where a transmission of the virus through smear infection is most likely to occur.

Vapours pumped out from a fog machine, meanwhile, will help to visualise the spread of the virus through aerosols, which scientists are hoping to predict before the gig takes place.

To prevent the experiment from sparking a new outbreak, volunteers will also be sent a DIY test kit and undergo a swab test some 48 hours before the gig starts. Those who cannot show proof of a negative test will be denied entry.

Live Audience
CREDIT: Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images

A facemask will also be provided to each concertgoer with the disinfectant, although organisers say the risk of catching the virus at the concert is “extremely slim”.


Three different scenarios of entry to the concert will also be examined.

More than 775 people are thought to have signed up to the experiment so far. Scientists hope to present their findings in early October.

Meanwhile, it was announced today (July 20) that this weekend will see the UK’s first public live series of music events since the coronavirus lockdown began earlier this year.

Miles Kane will head up the series in London’s Camden Market, which will see a string of  will play Camden Market this Saturday (July 25) to kick off the ‘Camden Unlocked’ series, open-air weekend performances taking place until August 16.

Last month, the co-founder of Lollapalooza predicted that live music will not return until 2022.