First COVID-Safe Immersive Music Venue Opening In London—But Not Until October

A venue billed as “London’s first socially distanced immersive event” has emerged as the world reopens amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The venue, called One Night Records, debuted on social media last week. But live music fans won’t be able to enjoy just yet—the first event isn’t taking place until October. 

Tickets went up for sale on Thursday for events beginning with opening night on October 2, according to One Night Records’ Instagram profile description. Its website states it is “the world’s first immersive music venue” and details the first event series, “Lockdown Town.”

“The show begins with Rock & Roll bursting out of the constraints of the 1950s, and travels back in time,” the website states. “Audiences will see the devil dance at the crossroads, lose themselves in Trad Jazz, revel in Country and Western, romp to rhythm and blues, and at last arrive spinning into ragtime and Spanish Flu.”

While One Night Records doesn’t mention dance music specifically, DJs could fit what they’re offering. The venue’s website states that each night will feature “a different lineup of London’s very best musicians playing never-the-same gigs.” It promises to showcase music’s origins with context, original material, and classic sounds. 

One Night Records is selling tickets at £202 per household of up to four family members or friends. Each date has multiple time slots avaialable, spaced 15 minutes apart. 

A COVID-Safe Venue

The venue is “designed to be COVID-Safe, incorporating social distancing and exceeding government guidelines,” according to the website. It outlines 11 safety measures being implemented. They include requiring and giving out masks, increasing ventilation, cleaning nightly, selling pre-ordered drinks and food, and providing disinfectants like hand sanitizer. In addition, the venue will put “COVID-19 Safe To Use” stickers on all items and signage “encouraging respiratory etiquette.” Households will be set at least 2.5 meters from each other.

One Night Records’ Instagram bio states it is the “World’s first COVID-Safe Live Music Event.” Perhaps that is true of its unique immersive experience. However, other venues across the world have already held socially distanced, coronavirus-conscious shows.

Other Socially Distanced Events

The first socially distanced concert in the United States took place in mid-May at TempleLive in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Country musician Travis McCready played to a reduced capacity audience of 200 masked people, spaced six feet apart. Drinks were prepackaged, similar to One Night Records’ plan. 

Elsewhere, the return of live music has taken on various forms. Drive-in concerts have been held in Germany and Denmark and trap DJ Carnage organized a similar ‘ROAD RAVE’ show near Phoenix at the end of May. Last month, some of Berlin’s famous clubs reopened as beer gardens with mask requirements and did not allow dancing. Live Nation has started promoting events in Denmark and Finland with a maximum capacity of 500 people. Meanwhile, New Zealand has allowed events to move forward and is implementing contact tracing. And over the weekend, an 800-people capacity venue in the Netherlands held a seated and socially distanced techno event. 

That is to say, London and the United Kingdom are not the first to host socially distanced shows. Come October, though, One Night Records may indeed show the world how to run a Covid-safe, truly immersive event. 

Tickets for One Night Records’ events through the end of the year can be purchased here. Show dates are scheduled through December 30.

With a vaccine for coronavirus yet to be developed, the live music industry is experiencing quite the push and pull. As new events are being announced, staples like A State of Trance festival in London are being postponed. And shows that are forging forward can be subject to cancelation.