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PICS: The UK's first socially distanced concert drew plenty of praise last night

By James Fenton

August 12, 2020 at 11:49am

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Take a straw poll on what people are missing most this summer and you'll find that attending outdoor concerts is right up there at the top of the list.

Sadly, the tickets we all queued online for or gifted to our loved ones for Christmas will remain unused for the time being with the likes of Dermot Kennedy, Guns N' Roses and The Killers all pushing back gigs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

All eyes will be on what direction the crisis takes heading into 2021 and last night we got a glimpse of what concerts could look like here in Ireland in the near future. Geordie singer-songwriter Sam Fender played a hometown gig at Gosforth Park in Newcastle in what was the first of a series of socially-distanced gigs at the outdoor venue over the coming weeks.

Gosforth Park has been rebranded as the Virgin Money Unity Arena, the 'UK's first dedicated socially distanced music venue' and last night fans were placed onto viewing platforms with a maximum of five people on each one.

Fans were required to wear face coverings as they walked around the site and each of the 500 penned off areas included a table, chairs and a mini fridge. One Twitter user said that there were 'sensible loo/bar/food arrangements,' and added 'it's the future - at least for the foreseeable'.

On what appeared to be a pleasant evening weather-wise, fans were able to chat with their nearest and dearest in a comfortable seating arrangement while waiting for the main event...

When the show finally got underway, there was no such thing as strangers knocking your drink over and those on the shorter side were probably very much in favour of the view from the raised platforms...

There are plenty more acts scheduled to play the venue over the coming weeks, including our very own Ronan Keating who seemed suitably impressed...

What do you make of the set-up? Can you see it working in Ireland if restrictions are still in place next summer? Let us know what you think in the comments.

(header pic: @VMUnityArena)

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