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Spain pilot shows no impact on Covid-19 spread

Festivals per la Cultura Segura, the organiser of the recent pilot concert in Barcelona on 27 March, today announced that the event had no impact on Covid-19 transmission among attendees, despite the lack of social distancing observed at the 5,000-person show.

Having analysed the data, doctors from the show’s medical partners (the Germans Trias Hospital and Fight Aids and Infectious Diseases Foundation), who observed the event, have concluded that the indoor concert setting did not increase the coronavirus risk – with concertgoers exhibiting a lower incidence of Covid-19 than the general population in Barcelona at the time.

Taking place at the 17,000-capacity Palau Sant Jordi Arena, the event saw popular local rock act Love of Lesbian perform to an audience of 4,994 fans, all of whom had tested negative for Covid-19 on the day (six people were turned away after testing positive). While the use of a medical-grade FFP2 mask was mandatory, there was no social distancing among fans, who were separated into three areas, once the show got underway.

Compliance with the measures that were in place – such as the mask mandate, the three concert zones and a regulated flow of people around common areas such as bars and the toilets – was “scrupulous”, say organisers.

Of the 4,592 concert attendees who gave consent for the doctors to analyse Covid-19 tests taken after the event, six people tested positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of the show. All six cases had mild symptoms, or were asymptomatic, and no secondary transmission was observed; additionally, analysis suggests that four of the cases originated outside the concert.

“We will continue to work under the guidance of the scientific community to make further progress”

The six cases, say the scientists, represent a cumulative incidence (at 14 days after the show) of 130.7 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants. Compared to Barcelona as a whole, this is lower than the 259.5 cases/100,000 people in the city’s population at the time.

In a statement, Festivals per la Cultura Segura – comprising Primavera Sound, Sónar, Cruïlla, Canet Rock, TheProject and Vida Festival – say they view the experiment “very positively”, stating their intention to use the lessons of the Love of Lesbian show to push for the safe return of full-capacity live concerts.

“We will continue to work under the guidance of the scientific community in order to make further progress,” they say. “The aim is for this established model to generate new proposals within the framework of a strategic plan of pilot studies, such as the one carried out on 27 March at the Palau Sant Jordi.”

The Palau St Jordi show is the latest scientifically monitored pilot show to conclude concerts do not increase the rate of Covid-19 transmission, following similar events in Germany (Restart-19 in Leipzig and a test show at Dortmund’s Konzerthaus) and elsewhere in Barcelona (Primacov at Sala Apolo).

Watch the the event’s aftermovie, which includes on-the-day interviews with the organisers and fans (with English subtitles), below:

This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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5,000-person Barcelona show with testing sells out

Spanish indie-pop band Love of Lesbian will play a non-socially distanced show for 5,000 fans at Barcelona’s Palau St Jordi arena later this month, following the success of earlier pilot concerts in Spain and across Europe.

Organised by Catalan government-backed initiative Festivals per la Cultura Segura (Festivals for Safe Culture), the show, set for 27 March at the city-owned Palau Sant Jordi (17,960-cap.), follows the Primacov trial in December, where no concertgoers were infected with Covid-19 during a controlled test show at Barcelona’s Apolo club.

Tickets for the Love of Lesbian gig, which were priced between €23 and €28, quickly sold out after going on sale last Friday (5 March). At the show, fans will be divided into standing zones of up to 1,800 people, with their own bar (buying drinks is allowed) and toilet facilities.

If successful, the show could establish a “new protocol for celebrating events in the current” situation

Other health measures include a temperature check on entry, restricting entry to 18–65-year-olds, placing hand sanitising gel throughout the venue, and monitoring attendees via their smartphones, both during and after the show, when public health authorities will use the data for contact tracing purposes.

If successful, the show could establish a “new protocol for celebrating events [safely] in the current” situation, according to Festivals per la Cultura Segura.

The initiative is being coordinated by Barcelona’s leading music festivals, including Primavera Sound (which organised the Primacov show), Sónar, Cruïlla, Canet Rock, Vida Festival and Festival de Jazz de Barcelona.


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