BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 01: General view of Primavera Sound Festival at Parc del Forum on June 01, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jordi Vidal/Redferns)

As we make our way into 2021, we’re all wondering when live events could return. Part of the difficulty in finding an accurate answer is due to how COVID-19 is impacting regions around the world differently. In a bold attempt to see what would happen if live events returned now, Primavera Sound conducted a trial concert with zero social distancing. The results are shocking.

The trial concert nicknamed PRIMA-CoV, was held in a 1,600-capacity venue in Sala Apolo in Barcelona, Spain. Approximately 463 people entered the venue and a control group of 496 were kept from attending the show. The ages of attendees ranged from 18-59 years old. Altogether, the concert lasted approximately 5 hours and attendees were confirmed COVID negative before the event. Surprisingly, social distancing was not enforced but people did wear N95 masks. Additionally, optimal air ventilation was created at the venue, and restrooms were monitored to prevent large crowds.

“That was, precisely, the objective of this study: to validate these kind of tests as an extremely useful tool to be able to carry out any type of event, whether musical or not, without social distancing.”

Eight days after the event, all attendees were tested. It’s reported that no one from the festival tested positive for COVID-19. Oddly enough, two members in the control group did test positive. These findings are extremely encouraging as we decide when is the best time to reintroduce live events.

Rapid tests could be game-changing for the entertainment industry. This trial shows how rapid testing at venue entrances could allow for a safe event. In addition, attendees have peace of mind knowing others around them are not contagious. Still, masks among all attendees would have to be enforced.

Looking Forward

All in all, we’re all hoping live events can safely return soon this year. Vaccines are rolling out but it’s taking time to distribute them. After last year, it’s scary thinking we may have to wait another year to attend our favorite events or travel to our favorite places. The combination of rapid testing and the COVID-19 vaccine itself will ultimately allow us to return safely to the dance floor together.