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The UK Holds Its First Socially Distanced Concert For 2,500 People

This gives a whole new meaning to the term “pod people.”

AP/Owen Humphreys via

The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the world for almost six months now, but last week, stir-crazy music fans got rocked the old fashioned way… sort of.

The UK’s first socially-distanced concert gave us a glimpse at what the future of festivals might look like. And, to be honest, it doesn’t seem that bad! 

Emerging British musician Sam Fender, who won the Critics Choice Award at the 2019 Brit Awards, put on an outdoor show at the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle last Tuesday. 

The pop-up forum featured 500 pods, spaced two meters apart, each holding up to five people. Concert-goers could dance, sing, even order food and drinks, all without the looming fear of catching “the ‘rona” from some overzealous, screaming fan in front of them. Unless of course than fan was their own friend, but there’s only so much you can do to protect yourself, right?

Virgin Money Group’s brand and marketing director, Helen Page, said of the event, “We are delighted to play a part in bringing back live music events as we start to emerge from lockdown. This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans.”

Again, this set-up honestly seems kind of ideal… no sweaty crowd to push through, no getting stepped on… sure you lose the opportunity to crowd-surf, but in these troubling times, something’s got to give. 

Sam Fender is happy to lead the charge toward humans regaining our social lives and enjoying music in groups. He told BBC One, “People need to know that their lives are going to go back to normal at some point and this will blow over, however long it takes. We will get back to normality at some point with gigs and we will be out in fields. But it’s nice to know this is the first step toward that.” He added, “I will miss the mosh pits.” Won’t we all, Sam, won’t we all. 


The arena’s line-up for the next two months includes The Libertines, Van Morrison, and comedians Jimmy Carr and Bill Bailey. Not bad! Feel like jetting over to Newcastle yet?

On the other hand, until planes come with their own spaced-out pods, you may want to avoid them. Wouldn’t want to face a scene like this.

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