Local lockdown in North East shuts down Newcastle’s Virgin Money Arena social distance shows

Tonight's Chase & Status gig will be the last

Newcastle’s Virgin Money Unity Arena concert series has been forced to end prematurely amid new coronavirus measures being implemented in the North East.

The run of socially distanced outdoor shows was opened by Sam Fender last month, with the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, The Libertines and Supergrass also taking to the stage throughout August.

Today (September 17), organisers have confirmed the final shows at the arena will no longer go ahead in compliance with new rules set out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who cited “concerning rates of infection” in the region.

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“The data says that we must act now,” Hancock told the House Of Commons this afternoon (via the BBC).

Sam Fender socially distanced
Sam Fender headlines the Virgin Money Unity Arena at Newcastle Racecourse (Picture: Getty)

Chase & Status‘ scheduled performance this evening, however, will go ahead as planned. Cancelled shows include Jack Savoretti (September 18), Kaiser Chiefs (19) and Declan McKenna (20), with ticket refunds available at the point of purchase.

“It is extremely disappointing to have to cancel these final shows at the end of what has been an incredible six week run of successfully socially-distanced concerts,” said organiser Steve Davis.

“We’re honoured to have been able to provide a little happiness and joy to thousands of music and comedy fans throughout the region and the UK in what has been such a tough 2020 for everyone.”

He added: “Unfortunately, due to the rise of infection in the North East, we must comply with the council’s and the government’s latest advice. This should not take away from the fact that the people of the North East and from all over the world have embraced this pioneering run of shows.”

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Those affected by the new restrictions in the region will be banned from mixing households and support bubbles, while pubs, bars and restaurants will have to adhere to a 10pm curfew.

In a five-star review, NME hailed Sam Fender’s Virgin Money Unity Arena outing as a “life-affirming, groundbreaking show”.

 

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