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Quebec to host biggest pilot concert to date

Up to 20,000 fully vaccinated music fans will gather on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City in September for the world’s biggest test concert to date.

Caroline Proulx, minister for tourism in the devolved government of Quebec, announced earlier this week that Laval University will oversee a pilot event provisionally set for 25 September, with local promoters invited to tender for a “test event [that will be] as close as possible to a pre-pandemic event in its formula”. The selected promoter will be required to book at least three Quebec artists, as well as ensuring that at least 50% of the content of the show is in French.

A source tells the Journal de Québec that the preferred scenario for the event would involve 20,000 double-jabbed spectators, who would not be asked to wear masks, and an open-air concert on the Plains of Abraham, a 240-acre park in Quebec City. At the same time, 5,000 people would attend an indoor show, likely at the Videotron Centre arena.

“By September we believe the majority of Quebeckers will be doubly vaccinated”

The concert going ahead would be dependent on the public health situation at the time. “The goal is to make it an event that is safe, with no risk to people,” says Laval University’s Sophie D’Amours.

“This large gathering will be free for people who participate on a voluntary basis,” Proulx told a press conference on Monday (19 July). “Why was the month of September targeted? Because we believe that the majority of Quebeckers will be [doubly] vaccinated.”

Proulx estimates the test show, Canada’s first, will cost between CA$2–3 million (US$1.6–2.4m).

The latest pilot concert series, held in Leipzig in Germany in May and June, resulted in no infections, bolstering findings from previous test events in Europe. Last month, Festival Republic held a 10,000-person, three-day festival event, Download Pilot, at Donington Park in the UK.

International test events underline concert safety

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