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U.K. s first physically distanced concert shows what the future of live music might look like

U.K. s first physically distanced concert shows what the future of live music might look like
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Fans occupy separate pens to force physical distancing, ahead of the Sam Fender rock concert at the Virgin Money Unity Arena, a pop-up venue for the gig in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, northern England, Tuesday Aug. 11, 2020. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

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When the coronavirus pandemic emerged, the music and hospitality industry took a beating. Concerts and events were canceled all over the world as countries imposed lockdown restrictions and stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the virus.

But as some nations start to ease restrictions, event organizers are figuring out how to restart the music industry and keep fans safe.

A new U.K. pop-up venue, the Virgin Money Unity Arena, is testing this out. Some 2,500 fans gathered at the outdoor venue Tuesday for what organizers described as the U.K. s first physically distanced concert.

Several musicians and comedians -- including Van Morrison, Jimmy Carr and Bill Bailey -- will follow suit later in the year in a series of events.

Distancing is enforced on arrival. Cars are parked two metres apart before patrons are guided to their own platformed private viewing areas, while food and drink can be ordered beforehand or via an app for collection or delivery.

Helen Page, group brand and marketing director at Virgin Money, commented: "We are delighted to play a part in bringing back live music events as we start to emerge from lockdown," according to PA Media news agency.

"This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans," she added.

Concerts and nightlife that we were used to before the pandemic could still be a long way off.

In the meantime, some organizers are experimenting with virtual events, drive through concerts , mandated personal protective equipment, or temperature checks on arrival.
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