Coronavirus restrictions are still firmly in place across Europe as countries attempt to contain new, more transmissible variants, but last night (March 27) five thousand music fans came together to attend a gig at Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi concert hall.
While the rest of Spain was limited to gatherings of no more than four people in enclosed spaces, the concert went ahead with the blessing of the country’s health authorities. Attendees were asked to take a same-day coronavirus screening on Saturday morning, and those with negative results received a text validating their tickets for the 7pm show.
At the concert itself — which was headlined by the Spanish rock band Love of Lesbian — guests were allowed to mix freely as long as they wore face masks provided by the event’s organisers.
The sold-out show will be used to measure the effectiveness of rapid antigen testing, with concertgoers agreeing to let health authorities inform researchers if they come down with COVID-19 in the next few weeks. The infection rates will then be measured against that of the general population.
Previously, Barcelona has hosted another of Europe’s biggest non-socially distanced gigs since the start of the pandemic, inviting more than 1,000 people to Primavera Sound (which also employed rapid testing). In January this year, that trial was declared a success, resulting in no infection rate.
Similar events have taken place in Germany, where scientists held three experimental concerts back in August 2020. These events also yielded positive results, with researchers saying that the risk of the virus spreading in venues following strict protocols — such as providing adequate ventilation — is “low to very low”.