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Photography Aditya Chinchure, via

Stadium events are ‘very unrealistic’ for the rest of 2020

Unsurprisingly, the World Health Organisation says the return of stadium events with current levels of coronavirus would be ‘disastrous’

While indoor venues are technically allowed to open in the UK now, and in Germany live music is being used to track how coronavirus spreads, the World Health Organisation says that we shouldn’t be expecting stadium events to return to normal within the year.

Speaking during an online discussion, the executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, Michael Ryan, has called the idea that large-scale music events could be held in 2020 “very unrealistic”, adding that the potential consequences are “disastrous”.

“Large crowds of 40,000, 50,0000, 60,000 people… it’s not just the risk of being in the stadium,” Ryan says. “It’s the risk of going to the stadium, the public transport, the bars and the clubs.”

“We’re just going to have to be careful for a good bit longer. It’s very unrealistic in countries with community transmission that we’re going to be seeing large gatherings like that this year.”

While that may seem disappointing for live music fans, it’s not as dark a prediction as that of the Lollapalooza co-founder, and one of the concert industry’s top executives, Marc Geiger, who recently stated that we’ll be waiting until 2022 for the return of live music.

While Ryan does say that stadiums could allow smaller events with enforced social distancing, it’s unclear if doing so would be financially viable for stadiums used to – and designed for – massive crowds. 

Speaking about how independent music venues will deal with reopening back in May, Gareth Barber – director of Esquires, Bedford – claimed: “If we are expected to reopen at a reduced capacity, with social distancing measures in place and extra staff to enforce this, I believe this could signal the end for venues much quicker than being told to stay shut.”

Besides, we’ve already had a glimpse at the UK’s first socially distanced gig, and it looks… not great.