Spain has just taken its biggest step toward bringing back large-scale concerts during the pandemic with a Love of Lesbian concert, which was attended by 5,000 people in a closed, non-distanced environment. Last Saturday (March 27,) the Catalan band took the Palau Sant Jordi stage in Barcelona to perform their first indoor concert since the COVID-19 pandemic started, an effort made possible by Festivales Para La Cultura Segura and specialists from the Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, with support from the local government.
The 5,000 concertgoers were able to immerse themselves in a sense of normalcy and go back to pre-Coronavirus times where live music could be experienced shoulder-to-shoulder with friends and strangers, all thanks to rigorous screening and safety measurements taken before and during the show, including rapid antigen tests performed only hours before the show. Only four people came back positive and weren’t allowed access to the venue, and two more were confined after being in close proximity with them.
Additional precautions were also taken to guarantee a safe, worry-free space for the audience and staff. Continuous air circulation was ensured thanks to an optimized ventilation system; the spaces were sanitized using UV-light technology; high-quality FFP2 mask had to be worn during the whole concert, and there were plenty of sanitizing gel stations.
“I can say that it was a beautiful experience to see people enjoying and interacting while the band was playing, and not worrying about the distance, you know? Just being able to dance and enjoy the music as if nothing really happened,” commented concertgoer Debora Olalla about the trial event. “It was beautiful to see everyone hugging, singing, and dancing to the music and disconnecting from the reality we’re living, as they also respected the situation we’re in but truly engaging and enjoying the music.”
“Experiencing the night of March 27 was historic. It was one of those times you know the day will come when you’ll say ‘I was there,’” shared Ulía Moreno, manager of Love of Lesbian via email. “The organization and the audience’s commitment was sublime. There’s no doubt in my mind that [when] the results come out in a couple of weeks, they’ll confirm what we all felt that night. Culture can be safe. With this event, the world of culture and the public have shown that it can be done. I feel very proud to be a part of this with Love of Lesbian.”
The Festivales Para La Cultura Segura coalition includes people from some of the biggest festivals in Spain, like Primavera Sound, Sonar, Cruïlla, and Canet Rock, as well as promotion company The Project. A first smaller-scale test concert was successfully thrown back in December 2020 at Sala Apolo with 500 attendees, which concluded in zero contagions. The Love of Lesbian concert is the latest of the trial live music events held in Europe, and even though it would be financially and logistically impossible to replicate in massive events like music festival (as Sonar’s executive director Ventura Barba explained to The New York Times,) it represents a welcomed step towards normalcy.