Here’s what happened at Germany’s experimental coronavirus concert

The gig was held by German scientists to study the transmission of COVID-19 at large indoor venues

On Saturday (August 22), scientists held three experimental concerts in Leipzig to study how COVID-19 might transmit in large, indoor venues. 

As reported last month, the plan was to give 4,000 volunteers wearable tracking devices to transmit data about their movements and proximity to other audience members, so that scientists could “investigate the conditions under which such events can be carried out despite the pandemic”, according to BBC News. Reportedly only 1,500 people took part in the end.

The experiment, titled Restart-19 and given €990,000 in government funding, was conducted over three concerts, headlined by German singer Tim Bendzko. The first concert simulated a normal event under pre-pandemic conditions, the second placed an emphasis on hygiene and some social distancing, and the third used a much smaller audience with greater distances of 1.5 metres placed between crowd members.

The volunteers were aged 18 to 50, wore FFP2 protective face masks, and disinfected their hands with fluorescent hand sanitiser to help researchers identify what surfaces they were touching the most and which could potentially pose the most risk. The audience had to show a negative COVID test result in order to gain entry.

“The corona pandemic is paralysing the event industry,” Saxony-Anhalt’s Minister of Economics and Science said before the event. “As long as there is a risk of infection, major concerts, trade fairs, and sporting events cannot take place. This is why it is so important to find out which technical and organisational conditions can effectively minimise the risks.”

Check out footage and photos from the event below.