The UK’s first pilot gig was held in Liverpool where five thousand music fans were packed into a stadium for the first time in more than a year.
The event took place last weekend at Sefton Park where festival-goers got to experience a night out with no social distancing or face masks.
The day festival was an official trial event by the government to research how large gatherings can take place safely once again. The pilot show was staged by Festival Republic – Reading, Leeds and Latitude promoter.
Elly Stephenson who attended the concert said: “It was really strange, even the bar felt so weird. I’ve not had to queue for a bar in over a year.” Her viral TikTok of the event gathered 90,000 views.
All ticket holders had to take a lateral flow test at one of four testing centres in the area the day before, only those with negative results were allowed into the event.
The festival-goers had to be over 18 and registered with a GP in the Liverpool city region to attend.
Contractors from outside the area, including journalists, had to take live Covid tests on Zoom on Saturday to gain access to the event.
“The environment was perfect. It was a proper festival vibe.” Elly told JLDN News.
Researchers observed the event and noted the audience’s movement, interaction, ventilation, duration, catering and alcohol consumption for scientists to study.
“I was so anxious [for the event], but once I was there it was genuinely like the last year had never happened.” 18-year-old, Lucia Manni told JLDN News.
“We’ve worked really hard to do everything right behind the scenes – all the testing – to create an atmosphere that didn’t feel sterile and didn’t feel as though you were in a test or a pilot show or an experiment”, Managing Director, Melvin Benn told the BBC.
The event gives fans hope for the summer ahead of them. As many festivals including Glastonbury have already been cancelled for this year. Those festivals that are hoping to still go ahead are relying on the results of the pilot gig.
“There’s an awful lot of festivals riding on the success of this,” Benn said.
Elly said: “We’re going to have to learn to live with COVID to some degree and we can’t stay restricted forever, it’s important we practice the return of large-scale events and monitor them before massive festivals are due to take place!”
Stockport band, Blossoms, headlined the government-sanctioned event. “Blossoms were definitely my favourite act of the night. I’ve seen them so many times, but this time was special.” Elly said.
“I think if it’s organized properly and everyone follows the rules of being tested, there’s no reason why more stuff like this can happen!” Lucia said.
If the pilot gig and club nights are successful, there will be high hopes for the summer ahead of us.
By Mya Bailey