- 12 Jul 21
The aim of the 'SPRING' study event, led by the Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris, was to test whether it was safe to allow concerts without limiting audience numbers.
Recent research from a Parisian test concert has found a similar Covid infection rate in people who attended a concert at the Accor Arena compared to those who did not.
Almost 4,000 participants attended attended the event at the Bercy AccorHotels Arena on May 29th, where rock group Indochine and DJ Etienne de Crécy performed. Concert-goers wore a mask but social distancing was not enforced. The venue's bar was also closed for the entire gig.
The “SPRING” (Study on PRevention of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a large INdoor Gathering) event attempted to test whether it was safe to allow live music shows without limiting audience numbers. French live music association Prodiss and Paris hospital AP-HP conducted a clinical trial into COVID infection rates after the show.
“In conclusion, participation in a concert was not associated with an increased risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 during a standing concert without social distancing, among masked people with a negative antigen test in a closed room,” the report said.
All participants were aged between 18 and 45, and had taken a negative antigen test in the three days leading up to the concert, while venue staff were also tested. Two thirds of the 6,000 participants attended the concert, with 2,000 staying home as part of the control group.
They each took a Covid test on the day of the concert as well as seven days after the gig. 50 percent of participants had received at least one vaccine dose, but only 7 percent were fully vaccinated.
Among the 3,917 attendees, eight tested positive following the concert, compared to three out of 1,947 in the control group. Of the eight, five were already positive the day of the concert - meaning they did not become infected during the event.
The incidence rate among the two groups was 0.2 percent and 0.15 percent respectively, which “corresponds to the estimated incidence rate in Île-de-France in the two weeks leading up to the concert,” according to the report.
AI measured compliance with mask-wearing rules to be at 91 percent over the course of the four-hour gig.
The French government has allowed concerts with standing audiences to go ahead since June 30th. The nation's health pass is required for gigs with more than 1,000 people in the audience, with participants requiring proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test. Otherwise, concert-goers must have recovered from Covid. Unlike with the test event, wearing a mask is not compulsory during large concerts.
The COVID research from Paris has been submitted into a journal, while AP-HP are working on the next few steps alongside the French government to avoid the closure of the live entertainment industry if local cases rise again.