- 29 Mar 21
The concert harked back to pre-pandemic times in the Spanish city...
5000 people attended a concert for Spanish rock group Love of Lesbian on Saturday night (March 27). Fans joined together masked in Barcelona's Palau Sant Jordi, after passing a same-day Covid-19 screening, in order to test its effectiveness in stopping the virus from spreading during large cultural events.
Inside the venue, the only hard and fast rules were that high-quality face masks provided by the venue had to be worn, except when eating and drinking in designated areas.
The band had special permission from Spanish health officials to perform, and concert-goers were allowed to mingle freely while masked.
“It’s been a year and half since we last set foot on a scenario as a band,” singer Santi Balmes said to the crowd. “Some of the musicians are crying over here.”
“We were able to evade reality for a while,” said concert-goer Jose Parejo. “We were inside our small concert bubble. And we were even able to remember back in time when things like this one were normal. Things that nowadays aren’t that normal, sadly.”
People with heart disease, cancer or those who had been in contact with someone infected with the virus in recent weeks were asked not to sign up to attend the concert, which was sold out.
The concert was backed by local authorities and experts from the Fight Aids and Infectious Diseases Foundation, which organised an earlier case study of around 500 people back in December. The results of that case study found that pre-screening with antigen tests and the use of face masks successfully prevented the spread of the virus within the concert hall, despite the lack of social distancing.
“This is another small step toward being able to hold concerts and cultural events” during the pandemic, said Dr Boris Revollo, the virologist involved in the design of the health protocols.
Saturday's concert, 10 times larger than the original case study, required ticket holders to choose between three venues to receive an antigen test that morning. Those with negative results were given a code to access their tickets for the 7pm show. There was also no control group outside the concert hall, this time around.
In lieu of a control group outside the concert hall, the attendees allowed public health authorities to contact Revollo's team if they fell ill with Covid-19 in the weeks after the concert. That information will allow for an analysis of infection rates among the concert-goers in comparison with that of the general public, to see if there are discrepancies that could point to contagion at the concert.