Live Nation to trial socially distanced shows in New Zealand

It will be the first to welcome audiences to live events since the onset of the pandemic

Live Nation has announced it will trial social distancing at two live events in New Zealand next week.

The shows, dubbed by the live entertainment company as the ‘Together Again’ series, will kick off next Friday, May 29 in Auckland at The Tuning Fork. The shows will be the first live events to welcome audience members since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ‘Together Again’ series will feature a handful of performances from some of New Zealand’s best-loved acts. Next Friday’s lineup consists of comedians Urzila Carlson, Ray O’Leary, Ruby Esther and Nick Rado. Soul singer Hollie Smith will take to the stage the following evening.

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Attendance for each event is capped at 100 audience members. In a bid to prevent the spread of disease, staff will wear face masks and gloves throughout the proceedings. In addition, audience members will be subjected to temperature screening and contact tracing upon entering the venue.

Stuart Clumpas, the chairman of Live Nation New Zealand is “excited to be welcoming back live events in New Zealand”.

“The safety of our artists, audience, and staff is always a major focus at Live Nation events and venues, and especially so at this time,” said Clumpas. “Our staff have been working extremely hard to get the doors open again and we aim to deliver not only a great live experience but also one that adheres to all the extra health and safety precautions and measures that line up with the government advice for events at level two.

“We thank everyone in advance for making the effort to follow the new rules and guidelines that will be in place for these evolving times.”

Earlier this month, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country would relax its restrictions to “Alert Level 2”, which would allow restaurants and cafes to serve seated customers again, with a maximum of 10 people at a table, and domestic travel would resume.

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Last week, Billboard reported that Live Nation furloughed 20 per cent of its workforce as part of a $600million cost-cutting package. According to the report, 2,100 of the company’s 10,500 employees were affected by the decision, which comes as the live entertainment sector worldwide experiences unprecedented financial difficulty during the coronavirus pandemic.

Live Nation also plans to resume concerts at “full scale” in 2021, according to its president and CEO Michael Rapino. “We think in the fall, if there are no second hotspots, you’ll see markets around the world [reopening]… And then our goal is really to be on sale in the third and fourth quarters for 2021 at full scale,” he said.

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