Live music returned to the birthplace of The Beatles after a long coronavirus-enforced silence on Sunday when the English city of Liverpool hosted a one-off music festival to test whether such events spread the virus.
Around 5,000 people ditched face coverings and social distancing rules in the name of science and music.
They attended the outdoor event having tested negative for COVID-19, and promised to get themselves tested again five days after the festival.
Their data will be used by the government’s Events Research Programme to help understand the effect of crowds on the spread of the virus.
Sunday’s line-up in a purpose-built tent consisted of three acts: local singer-songwriter Zuzu, up-and-coming indie group The Lathums and headliners Blossoms.
“You don’t want to go back and it happens and then something happens and we have to go back, do you know what I mean, 10 steps,” said Joe Donavan, member of Blossoms.
“I prefer to just take this a little bit slowly and just get on with it.”
“Yeah we’ve waited this long now I think if people … if they said … I think at one point I’d have been willing to wait till next year if they could have guaranteed we’d be back. So, you know, we’re not in any rush to just, you know, open it too fast. I think it’s better to do it like Joe said, in the way we’re doing it now,” said fellow bandmate Tom Ogden.
The festival was part two of the experiment — around 3,000 revellers aged 18 to 20 packed together without masks in a warehouse rave on the docks in Liverpool on Friday night.
The scientific side of the event seemed to be far from the minds of festival-goers as they danced through the gates of Sefton Park for part two.
PA: Danny Lawson
Melvin Benn, Managing Director of Festival Republic, said he hoped his pilot project would play a key part in getting outdoor events back on the calendar this year.
“It actually feels remarkably normal, although it hasn’t felt normal getting to here. But actually now it’s here it feels like we can come back to this and it can be normal and we can make it all work,” Mr Benn said.
“Oh, it’s joyous, isn’t it? I mean, it’s just incredible an feeling.”
Lasting less than six hours and with a 10:00pm curfew, the festival was a far cry from the multi-day hedonism of bigger events like Glastonbury, but those attending said there was nowhere else they’d rather be.
Under current restrictions in England a maximum of six people are allowed to meet outside, with the next step to increase that to 30 people coming on May 17.
This content was originally published here.