Blossoms to play England’s first large music gig of 2021

Outdoor event at Sefton Park in May will be studied to test Covid safety at mass gatherings

The first “near-normal” mass-attended music gig this year is to take place outdoors in Liverpool next month, headlined by the Stockport band, Blossoms.

Fans will not have to wear masks or socially distance at the show, which will take place at Sefton Park on 2 May.

Only residents of the Liverpool city region can apply for the 5,000 tickets, and they must have tested negative the previous day. Once they have received a negative result at a designated testing centre, their e-tickets for the event will automatically be activated.

Anyone pregnant or classed as extremely clinically vulnerable cannot apply, and all concert-goers must be registered with a local GP.

The concert is part of the government’s Event Research Programme, which is running a series of pilots to test safety at mass gatherings.

Researchers at the gig will monitor audience movements and interactions around the venue, which will be operating under its 7,500 capacity, as well as transport to and from the show.

All concert-goers will be asked to take an at-home PCR test on the day of the event and five days later, so scientists can track any possible spread of Covid-19.

Blossoms gig in Dublin last year.
Only residents of Liverpool city region can apply for tickets to see Blossoms, seen here at a gig in Dublin last year. Photograph: Kieran Frost/Redferns

Announcing the pilot on Sunday, the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “We’re one step closer to a summer of live events now our science-led programme is under way. Testing different settings and looking at different mitigations is key to getting crowds back safely. The Sefton Park pilot is an important addition to the programme.”

Melvin Benn, the managing director of Festival Republic, which is promoting the concert, said: “This gig is about our absolute commitment to demonstrate that we can and will open on June 21st.”

Claire McColgan, the director of Culture Liverpool, a partner on the pilot, said: “We should all be proud of the fact we’re part of this brave endeavour which looks to get this vital sector back up and running and resilient once again.”

The first event as part of the scientific trial began on Saturday with the World Snooker Championships. The Championships are due to run until 3 May, welcoming up to 1,000 spectators a day to the Sheffield Crucible theatre to test an indoor seated setting.

The information gathered from events as part of the research programme will be crucial to how all venues - from major sport stadiums and theatres to wedding venues, conference centres and nightclubs - could operate safely this summer. The programme of pilots will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and testing protocols could ease opening and maximise participation.


Helen Pidd North of England editor

The GuardianTramp

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