Spain stages Covid concert pilot without social distancing measures

The audience, with face masks, at the Sant Jordi venue before the start of the concert.
The audience, with face masks, at the Sant Jordi venue before the start of the concert. / EFE
  • The 5,000 people in the audience wore face masks and had to pass a rapid antigen test in the morning

A concert at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on Sunday night was the first massive event in Spain since the start of the pandemic in which social distancing measures were not in force.

As before the Covid-19 restrictions, in this event, held as a clinical trial, people could stand, dance, jump and sing, shoulder to shoulder, as the Spanish band Love of Lesbian performed on stage.

All concertgoers, who had paid 25 euros for admission and had to take a rapid antigen test in the morning, wore a FFP2 mask that they were given by the organisers when they entered. Only those who tested negative for coronavirus were able to access the Palau.

Five thousand people might seem like a lot but the Sant Jordi venue has capacity for 18,000 spectators. The public were not allowed in the stands, but were separated into three groups on the floor level, each with its own bar area.

The clinical trial was carried out with each of the attendees signing a document authorising a follow-up via an app for the next 14 days to know how many people may have been infected.

"It was not a commercial concert," said Ventura Barba, of the organisers. And it was, he says, "99.9 per cent safe". Of the 5,000 people who were tested hours before the concert, only half a dozen tested positive and consequently had to go home.

The concert was an initiative of the Catalan association of music festivals and had the medical support of the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona and the official endorsement of the Catalan Ministry of Health and Barcelona City Council.

Minutes before the group made an appearance on stage, the public were reminded to "Be aware," and not to smoke, drink or eat in the main concert floor space.