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Back to Dance: Pilot project to get Hanover dancing again

Academics, associations and festivals in Lower Saxony are aiming to prove that open-air dance music events may be held safely this summer with a new pilot project, Back to Dance, which begins Friday (18 June).

An initiative of Fuchsbau Festival, SNNTG Festival, local industry associations such as Musikland Niedersachsen, MusikZentrum Hannover and KlubNetz, and Hanover’s Leibniz University, the Back to Dance events will take place over four days (18 June and 2, 3 and 4 July) in four different settings, with scientists from Leibniz University in Hanover and the Hanover Department of Health examining the impact of each format on the risk of infection with Covid-19.

The pilot will look particularly at effects of dancing on the transmission of aerosols, with organisers noting that, for both promoters and fans, dance music events are “simply unthinkable without guests having permission to dance”.

As scientists are testing different formats, masks will be be compulsory for the first event, on 18 June, while alcohol is available for all shows except those on 2 July. All eight events (two each day) will take place in the inner courtyard of MusikZentrum Hannover (pictured). All visitors must be at least 18 years and have produced a negative Covid-19 test within 12 hours of attending the event (even those who are already fully vaccinated against Covid-19).

“We want to show that an event of this kind is possible … under pandemic conditions”

Organisers will make use of Germany’s Corona-Warn-App for contact tracing purposes during and after the shows, which will feature a mix of live DJs and recorded electronic dance music.

Tickets for all eight events cost €5 each, and ticketbuyers may attend more than one.

A statement from Musikland Niedersachsen explains the motivation behind the Back to Dance ‘model project’: “In Lower Saxony, dancing without social distancing and without a mask is still not possible, even though it has been proven that the risk of infection in the open air is minimal and the overall incidence is low. With the model project we want to show, on the one hand, that an event of this kind is possible. On the other hand, we are interested in the factors that influence the organisation and behaviour of visitors under pandemic conditions.”

In the Netherlands, the government was influenced in its recent decision to lift all restrictions by the success of the Back to Live pilot series, which included several dance music shows organised by ID&T. There have been multiple similar pilots in Germany, though the country is still operating under a patchwork of state-by-state restrictions and the majority of its major summer festivals have already been cancelled.


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