Stockport band Blossoms are to headline what is being called a “near normal” gig in Liverpool at Sefton Park on 2 May, where audience members will not be required to wear masks or socially distance.
Only residents of the Liverpool city region can apply for the 5,000 tickets, and they must have tested negative the previous day. Once they have received a negative result at a designated testing centre, their e-tickets for the event will automatically be activated.
The outdoor concert at Sefton Park will operate below its capacity of 7,500, and anyone pregnant or classed as extremely clinically vulnerable cannot apply. All concert-goers must be registered with a local GP.
The concert is part of the government’s Event Research Programme, which is running a series of pilots to test safety at mass gatherings.
Researchers at the gig will monitor audience movements and interactions around the venue, which will be operating under its 7,500 capacity, as well as transport to and from the show.
“We’re one step closer to a summer of live events now our science-led programme is under way,” said the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden. “Testing different settings and looking at different mitigations is key to getting crowds back safely. The Sefton Park pilot is an important addition to the programme.”
Melvin Benn, the managing director of Festival Republic, which is promoting the concert, added: “This gig is about our absolute commitment to demonstrate that we can and will open on June 21st.”
Claire McColgan, the director of Culture Liverpool, a partner on the pilot, also commented: “We should all be proud of the fact we’re part of this brave endeavour which looks to get this vital sector back up and running and resilient once again.”
The information gathered from events as part of the research programme will be crucial to how all venues – from major sport stadiums and theatres to wedding venues, conference centres and nightclubs – could operate safely this summer.
The programme of pilots will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and testing protocols could ease opening and maximise participation.
Ticket-holders will be required to take a lateral flow test, which can produce a result within 30 minutes, at a local testing centre before entry.
Attendees will also be asked to take a test after the concert and will have to provide contact details to NHS Test and Trace.
The Events Research Programme aims to examine the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from attendance at events and explore ways to enable people to attend a range of events safely.
To achieve this, the programme will explore how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs - actions that people can take to mitigate the spread of coronavirus) can inform decisions on safely lifting restrictions at events.
There will be no requirement for participants to show proof of vaccine.
Participants in the ERP pilots published to date will have to provide a basic covid certification that they have tested negative for Covid-19.