5,000 music fans enjoyed a concert at Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi on Saturday night, after passing same-day Covid-19 tests as part of a trial to test effectiveness in preventing outbreaks of the virus at cultural events.
The only rule inside the show by Spanish rock group Love of Lesbian was the strict use of high-quality FFP2 face masks provided by the concert organisers. However, social distancing was not required and fans could dance, hug and sing along, all close to one another. The face masks were not obligatory when eating and drinking at the venue’s stands.
‘Welcome to one of the most exciting concerts of our lives!’ lead singer Santi Balmes told the crowd, to a roar of cheers. ‘It’s been a year and half since we last set foot on a scenario as a band.’ He said that it was very emotional, and that ‘some of the musicians are crying over here’.
The concert and trial had been approved by government health officials. Ticket buyers could choose between three venues in Barcelona on Saturday morning where they could undergo a rapid antigen test. Those with negative results then received a code on their cellphones validating their tickets for the 7pm show.
People with heart disease, cancer, or those who had been in contact with someone infected by Covid-19 in recent weeks, however, were asked not to sign up.
The show was sold out. The tickets, ranging from 23-28 euros, included the cost of the test and the face mask.
Organised by Festivals per la Culture Segura in collaboration with Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, the plan is to study the efficacy of antigen tests, with an eye on possible summer festivals if transmissions remain low.
Unlike a clinical trial case study that was organised in December around a smaller concert of 500 people, however, the Love of Lesbian concert on Saturday night was a commercial event as those in attendance bought tickets and were not volunteers.
Results of the case study in December showed that pre-screening with antigen tests and the use of face masks succeeded in preventing infections inside the concert, despite there being no social distancing rules.
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