- 27 Apr 21
The Palau St Jordi show is the latest scientifically-monitored gig to illustrate that concerts do not increase the rate of COVID-19 transmission, following similar events in Germany.
The organiser of the March 27th pilot concert in Barcelona has confirmed that the event had no impact on rates of COVID-19 transmission among attendees - despite no social distancing at the 5,000-person gig.
Festivals per la Cultura Segura have stated that compliance with the measures - a mask mandate, three concert zones and a regulated flow of people around common areas - was “scrupulous".
Having analysed the data, medics from the Germans Trias Hospital and Fight Aids and Infectious Diseases Foundation concluded that the indoor concert setting did not increase the coronavirus risk.
Doctors emphasised that March's concertgoers exhibited a lower incidence of COVID-19 than the general population in Barcelona at the time, according to IQ Mag.
Taking place at the 17,000-capacity Palau Sant Jordi Arena, the event saw local rock act Love of Lesbian perform to an audience of 4,994 fans, who had all tested negative for COVID-19 on the day.
While the use of a medical-grade FFP2 mask was mandatory, there was no social distancing among fans once the show kicked off.
Of the 4,592 concert attendees who gave consent for medics to analyse their COVID-19 tests taken after the event, just six people tested positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of the show.
All six cases had mild symptoms, or were asymptomatic, and no secondary transmission was observed, the doctors confirmed. Analysis also suggests that four of the cases originated outside the concert. These cases represent a cumulative incidence of 130.7 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants. Compared to Barcelona as a whole, this is lower than the 259.5 cases/100,000 people in the city’s population.
Festivals per la Cultura Segura is composed of Primavera Sound, Sónar, Cruïlla, Canet Rock, TheProject and Vida Festival, with the group releasing a statement offering their view of the experimental scheme.
The organisers have said that they intend to use the results of the pilot concert tp push for the safe return of full-capacity live music overall.
“We will continue to work under the guidance of the scientific community in order to make further progress,” they say.
“The aim is for this established model to generate new proposals within the framework of a strategic plan of pilot studies, such as the one carried out on 27 March at the Palau Sant Jordi.”
Similar recent events have displayed the low rate of transmission for mass gatherings, such as the Restart-19 pilot in Leipzig, a test show at Dortmund’s Konzerthaus and Primacov at Sala Apolo in Barcelona.
"It is really important now that the Government takes all of the evidence on board in making decisions about re-opening live music and sport,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said.
“It is really hard to understand, for example, why Ireland was the only country in Europe to decide that we couldn’t promise 25% occupancy at the upcoming Euro championship games that had been due to take place in Dublin in June. What it says, for sure, is that we are taking a more conservative approach than every other country where matches were and still are scheduled. We have to ask: why is that?
"And the only logical answer is that NPHET are dominating the debate, with what some of them have called 'an abundance of caution’. But that is not what’s needed: what we need is the right level of caution, married with an understanding of the importance of enabling people to get back to work.
"It is clear that the vaccination programme is working. And we now also know that there is considerable and growing evidence that concerts are safe. That evidence has to be properly reflected in the approach taken by the Government as we move forward into the summer."
Meanwhile, Professor John Edmunds of UK Covid Advisory Group SAGE stated last week in a BBC Sounds interview that there is "almost no instance" of outdoor COVID-19 transmission.
"It's safe, frankly. We're outside, I don't see any great risk. People are in small groups and staying distant from each other," Professor Edmunds said.
Speaking to the Department of Health, Hot Press was told that "while outdoors is safer, it is not risk-free":
"The National Public Health Emergency Team has consistently advised that outdoors is safer than indoors. It is important to note that while outdoors is safer, it is not risk-free."
Check out some on-the-day interviews with the Barcelona event's organisers (with subtitles), below: