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German experiment to assess efficacy of socially-distanced concerts

The people want concerts back, but in the middle of a pandemic, these close-quarters events can easily facilitate the spread of COVID-19. Creative solutions such as drive-in live music events and “rave in a box” concepts persist, and now, the federal states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt are funding an experiment to measure the effectiveness of socially-distanced concerts.

The research will begin with an experimental event held in an indoor stadium in Leipzig on August 22, and will feature popular German talent, Tim Bendzko. Participants will be given “tracking gadgets” and fluorescent hand sanitizer to help identify hot-spot surfaces for COVID-19 spread and adjust their behaviors to minimize disease spread. A combination of computer-generated models, fog machines, and aerosol spray will test how the virus could spread in the air.

In the first stage of the experiment, attendees will enter the venue and attend the concert as normal. During the second stage, attendees will be funneled through one of eight different entrances to shorten time spent in close proximity to others. In the third and final stage, capacity will be reduced from 4,000 to 2,000, and strict social distancing measures will be enforced. Across all stages of the experiment, participants will be required to complete COVID-19 testing 48 hours prior to the event. Those in attendance will also be given face masks to wear during the event.

One of the research experiment’s organizers, Stefan Moritz, discussed the goal of the procedure, stating,

“We are trying to find out if there could be a middle way between the old and the new normal that would allow organizers to fit enough people into a concert venue to not make a loss.”

As the music industry continues to face economic strife in a COVID-19 riddled world, the results of this experiment could potentially be reason for optimism. Results are expected to be published no later than October 2020.

H/T: The Guardian

Featured image: Gordon Welters

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