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Virgin Money Unity Arena
Virgin Money Unity Arena

A socially-distanced music venue is set to open in Newcastle this August

The outdoor arena will be the UK’s first venue of its kind, holding a maximum of 2500 people

Coronavirus has led to the cancellation or postponement of festivals and shows across the world, from Glastonbury to Coachella, and as the music industry feels the impact, organisers are scrambling to set up events that adhere to guidelines during the pandemic.

Yesterday (July 3) the UK’s first large-scale, socially-distanced music venue was announced, set to open this August at Newcastle Racecourse. The outdoor arena will be able to hold up to 2500 people, grouped by household in 500 individual viewing platforms placed 2 metres apart.

Other measures that have become familiar during the pandemic – such as one-way systems and pre-ordered food and drinks – will be implemented at the Virgin Money Unity Arena.

The “high-profile” lineup will be revealed Tuesday, July 7, according to the venue’s Twitter, which also details how the process of attending a show should work.

The Newcastle venue comes on the back of over 1,500 artists calling on the UK government to save live music in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Dua Lipa, Skepta, Nick Cave, the Cure, Jamie xx, FKA twigs, J Hus, and more signed an open letter in support of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.

“With no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed,” the letter reads, “the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.”

Earlier this week (July 2), plans for a socially-distanced festival in Northern Ireland were announced. With strict hygiene guidelines and a capacity of between 500 and 1000 people, on a site across 25 acres of land, the festival is also due to take place this August.