As people in England celebrate being able to sit outside with no more than five of their friends this week, thousands of music fans in Spain spent Saturday night at a stadium concert.
In what was one of the largest gatherings in Europe since the pandemic began, 5,000 people attended a gig by Spanish indie band Love of Lesbian at Palau Sant Jordi concert hall in Barcelona.
Spanish authorities allowed the concert to go ahead as part of a pilot. Attendees were required to pass a same-day COVID test and have their temperature checked at the door, as well as wear a mask. Those who had pre-existing medical conditions or had been in contact with someone who had COVID were not permitted to attend.
These requirements aside, photos from the night resemble a gig straight out of the Before Times, albeit with face masks. Social distancing was not enforced and many audience members appear to be singing along – something that current UK coronavirus guidelines advise against. Love of Lesbian singer Santi Balmes told the crowd: “It’s been a year and half since we last set foot on a scenario as a band. Some of the musicians are crying over here.”
The concert was backed by the Fight Aids and Infectious Diseases Foundation, which hopes for results that show that pre-screening and face masks at events can prevent the spread of infection. It follows a similar experiment in the Netherlands earlier this month, when 1,500 people attended a music festival organised by Dutch health authorities and the nightlife industry.
Concert attendee Jose Parejo said: “We were able to evade reality for a while. 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.”
Your patio doesn’t seem quite so exciting now.