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No new infections from Clubculture Reboot Berlin

The organisers of Berlin’s Clubculture Reboot have welcomed what they describe as positive interim results from the recent pilot event series, which saw around 2,000 people attend indoor club nights at six venues after taking PCR tests for Covid-19.

According to Clubcomission, the association which organised the event alongside the Berlin Senate’s department for culture and the Charité hospital, there were zero new infections as a result of the event, proving once again that “dance [music] events may be held safely even under pandemic conditions”.

Participants in Clubculture Reboot, which took place from 6–8 August across six Berlin clubs, needed to produce a negative PCR test to gain entry, as opposed to the rapid lateral-flow/antigen tests more commonly used for concerts and festivals.

All clubgoers, regardless of their vaccination status, had to go undergo a PCR test – the ‘swab test’ which is more accurate than a rapid test, but which takes at least 24 hours to return its results – at one of three designated test centres in the 48 hours leading up to the weekend’s events.

“The project offers real [guidelines] for the opening of clubs, even if infections and hospitalisations rise sharply in autumn”

Of the 2,110 people who were tested pre-event, seven were turned away after testing positive, and all attendees who submitted to follow-up PCR test (1,447 people, or almost 70%) tested negative for the virus. While the full results are expected at the end of the month, the interim findings are welcome, says Clubcommissionc chair Pamela Schobeß: “The project offers real perspective for the opening of clubs, even if incidences [of Covid-19] and hospitalisations rise sharply in autumn.

“It proves that with this method, safe spaces can be created that make it possible to bring club culture to life even in a pandemic.”

Dr Florian Kainzinger, who designed the testing process, adds: “With this project we were able to show that PCR tests can also be implemented in a very short period of time from sampling to transmission of results. This enables new perspectives for a safe reopening even in high-risk areas.”


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Germany’s Fusion ploughs ahead with testing plan

Germany’s Fusion Festival is determined to forge ahead with its 2021 edition by following an extensive testing plan, which is currently being examined by authorities.

The organisers hope to host 35,000 visitors between 24–27 June and 1–4 July at the Mecklenburg Lake District in Lärz, using their ‘innovative strategy of PCR mass testing’.

The strategy would require all ticket holders to take two PCR tests – one on the day before arrival and one during the festival.

In order to do this, the organisers plan to set up preliminary testing stations and laboratories in Berlin, Hamburg and Leipzig for attendees on the way to the festival.

There, a sample batch will be evaluated in the laboratory within 70–90 minutes and the results are transmitted to the Fusion Festival’s ticket system before attendees’ arrival.

Alternatively, festivalgoers can be tested at the festival’s Lärz centre, in the southeastern area of ​​the airfield, which could test up to 15,000 visitors within twelve hours.

The Lärz test centre will also have parking spaces, as well as waiting areas for those arriving on the shuttle bus, where attendees can wait for up to 90 minutes for the results of their test.

The festival has since raised the ticket price from €130 to €220 due to the cost of mass testing

Only those who test negative will be permitted to enter the festival and those who are attending both days will be required to take another PCR test on the Sunday morning. If the result is negative, the access wristbands will be reactivated. Festival employees will have to follow a similar protocol.

Social distancing and mask wearing will not be mandatory, according to the testing plan, and the organisers have also said that they may consider proof of vaccination upon entry to relieve the PCR testing facilities.

Last year, the organisers made the decision to split the festival over two weekends and have half as many visitors at a time. The festival has since raised the ticket price from €130 to €220 due to the cost of mass testing.

In a statement on the festival’s website, the organisers explain the hike in price: “This concept was not included in the calculation [of the festival]. In contrast to profit-oriented organisers, we don’t want to spare any costs or efforts to make the merger possible and to fight for freedoms. We don’t yet know whether or how it will refinance in the end, but we firmly believe that this will not fail because of the money.

“We ask politicians to actively promote and financially support progressive test concepts like the one we have developed. Culture in pandemic times needs state funding. The federal and state governments have slept through innovative test strategies so far. Massive PCR tests are more sustainable for festivals than the often promised compensation for downtime costs.”

Read Fusion Festival’s full testing plan and FAQs here.


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