Live Nation says it will host the first large-scale live music event in Germany since the pandemic began, with a concert on Sept. 4 headlined by Bryan Adams at a soccer stadium in Düsseldorf before 12,000 fans.
The promotion company is billing the outdoor concert at Merkur Spiel-Arena, which will feature four other artists including Sarah Conner, Rea Garvey, The BossHoss and Michael Mittermeier, as the “Return to Live” after a more than four-month shutdown of the live sector. But it will not be business as usual. Concertgoers will all be seated and socially distanced 1.5 meters apart (about five feet), required to wear masks at all times and alcohol will be prohibited in and around the stadium.
Organizers are not requiring the attendees to be tested for COVID-19 prior to arriving at the venue. Instead, Live Nation will rely on a mix of contact tracing and comprehensive hygiene measures to ensure that the event doesn’t create a coronavirus hotspot, according to a lengthy fact sheet sent to Billboard.
The promoter says the concert is meant to demonstrate that a major event is possible provided strict hygiene and other protective measures are taken to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus. “The fans, artists, and crew, as well as the entire music industry, have been eagerly awaiting this moment,” Live Nation Germany CEO Marek Lieberberg said in a statement.
Nevertheless, the event has already drawn the ire of at least one German health official who believes it should not take place. Karl-Josef Laumann, the health minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, told German tabloid Bild on Friday he was “irritated” that the local health department in Düsseldorf had approved the concert and not coordinated with the state government. “We have a complex infection situation shortly before the end of the travel season,” Laumann said. “In this situation, encouraging people from all over Germany to travel across the country to Düsseldorf and come together by the thousands is simply irresponsible.”
Düsseldorf’s mayor, Thomas Geisel, responded to Laumann on Friday, defending his local health minister and saying that the concert “in its intended form not only meets all the requirements of infection protection, but actually goes far beyond the rules in force in this regard.”
In June, German chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states agreed to extend a ban on large events from Aug. 31 until at least the end of October. But the agreement left some room for exceptions if an event could meet necessary hygiene regulations and ensure contact tracing.
The concert attendees in Düsseldorf will be subjected to a restrictive set of rules and regulations. Fans will have to register their contact details when buying their tickets and agree to special terms and conditions, including assigned seating, groups limited to 10 people and specific time slots for entry and exit from the venue. The personalized tickets will mean fans confirm to the organizers: that they have not been to any region of Germany where the “corona [virus] upper limit” of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants has been exceeded; that they are not suffering from COVID-19 symptoms; and that they have not knowingly had any contact with an infected person with the last 14 days nor been told to quarantine.
The data collected from fans will be used “exclusively to enable the tracking of infections,” Live Nation says. The promoter will keep the data for one month and share it upon request from “competent authorities” and then delete it.
The performers will do shorter-than-usual sets and the entire event will run from 7:30 p.m. to no later than 11 p.m. In an Instagram post, Adams said he would play acoustically — “on my own/no band.”
There won’t be any breaks during the events — only short set changes between the performances where people will be asked to remain in their seats, except to go to the bathroom. No food will be sold at booths in the stands; fans can purchase packaged food and drinks from runners.
Live Nation says it will strictly enforce the wearing of masks over the nose and mouth, but fans will have to bring their own. No masks will be sold at the stadium and people will be denied entrance without them.
Tickets for the event go on sale on Aug. 11 from Ticketmaster Germany and giveliveachance.de/tickets. In the event that infections levels spike, forcing health officials to cancel the show, organizers will refund ticket buyers, a spokesperson for Live Nation said.
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I’ve been invited to perform at the first large social distancing concert in Germany at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf on 4th September. I’m playing acoustically – on my own / no band. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, August 11th at 10am through www.ticketmaster.de and giveliveachance.de/tickets #giveliveachance #socialdistancingconcert #barebones #bryanadamslive