Photo: Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock

Scientists Held a Test Concert in Barcelona to Safely Bring Back Live Music in 2021

by Eben Diskin Jan 11, 2021

Going to a live concert probably isn’t in the cards for you right now, unless you do it as part of a scientific experiment.

To test the safety of live music events without social distancing, Primavera Sound festival collaborated with local medical officials to host a five-hour concert in Barcelona’s Sala Apolo last month, with performances by Renaldo & Clara, Mujeres, and DJs Marta Salicrú and Unai Muguruza.

Ticket holders were required to take rapid antigen and PCR tests for COVID-19 before entering, and were then allowed to have a pretty normal concert going experience — including drinking, dancing, and mingling — though N95 masks were still required. On the first day of the concert, all attendees who tested negative were divided into two groups — the first entered the concert, the second didn’t. This randomized group allowed the scientists to create a clinical trial. There were 463 participants in the concert hall in total.

According to festival director Pablo Soler, the goal was “to demonstrate the viability of activities like this, if they are carried out under adequate medical and protection conditions.”

Participants were monitored after the event for COVID-19 infection, and now the results are in: None of the participants were infected with the virus.

Researchers concluded that the concert, with all the precautionary measures in place, did not result in an increase in COVID-19 infections. That means as long as testing and mask-wearing are implemented, hand sanitization is required, and the building has proper ventilation, live concerts with no social distancing are a possibility.

These findings don’t mean concerts will return to your city tomorrow, but they do give hope that concerts will be a reality again sooner than expected.

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