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5,000 attend gig in Barcelona following mass testing of crowd

The concert was held as part of a clinical trial seeking pandemic-safe ways to celebrate mass events.

Image: Shutterstock/Oleksii Synelnykov

AROUND 5,000 PEOPLE attended a gig last night in Barcelona after receiving negative results in same-day Covid testing.

The concert was held as part of a clinical trial seeking pandemic-safe ways to celebrate mass events.

Ahead of the party, everyone underwent mass screening and antigen tests, donning FPP2 surgical masks to attend the gig which comes after an unprecedented year of confinement, social distancing and very little social interaction.

It is one of the largest gatherings in Europe in more than a year since the pandemic began.

“This is for one night only, so enjoy it,” said a presenter at Saint Jordi Arena just minutes before the start of the gig by one of Spain’s most popular bands, indie rockers Love of Lesbian.

Behind the event is a group of music and festival promoters as well as a local hospital who say the safety measures, which include a special ventilation system, make it a safer space than inside a private home.

During the morning, the dance floors at three long-closed Barcelona nightclubs were transformed into makeshift field hospitals with nurses in blue carrying out antigen tests inside white canvas enclosures with the results back in 10 minutes.

When a person tested negative, the entry pass downloaded on an app on their phone was validated. The only other requirement was that they wear an FPP2 mask while inside the venue.

“We expect it to be completely safe. Over the next 14 days we will look at how many of the audience test positive for Covid and will report back,” explained Josep Maria Llibre, a doctor at the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital just north of Barcelona.

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The aim is “to discover a way in which we can coexist with Covid and hold concerts which are completely safe,” said Ventura Barba, executive director of Barcelona’s Sonar festival which is one of the organisers.

“We hope it will be a turning point,” he told AFP.

For Love of Lesbian’s lead singer, Saturday’s gig was aimed at showing those in the music industry there was a way forward.

“It is creating a hole in the tunnel so the world of culture can see some light, or at least a possible way of doing things,” Balmes said.

“We all need to let off a bit of steam and get back to our old lives,” he said.

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AFP

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