Thousands attend post-lockdown music festival trial in Liverpool

Revellers at a music festival in Sefton Park Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Thousands of revellers have come together for a pilot music festival hailed as a milestone towards getting live events running again.

Around 5,000 descended on Sefton Park in Liverpool on Sunday for the outdoor gig which includes performances from Blossoms, The Lathums and Liverpool singer-songwriter Zuzu.

Everyone had to produce negative coronavirus tests to enter the event but did not have to wear face coverings or follow social distancing rules.

(Danny Lawson/PA) Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said: “Today is a momentous occasion to celebrate as fans get their first taste of a music festival for more than a year – and all in the name of science.

“There is nothing quite like the collective experience of hearing your favourite act live in the atmosphere of a festival and I hope everyone has a fantastic day.

“We’ve supported the live music sector through the pandemic with £250 million in grants from our Culture Recovery Fund going to more than 2,000 organisations.

(Danny Lawson/PA) Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

“Now we want to get audiences back to the events they love and see the live music industry rebooted.

“Today’s event is a milestone with thousands of people coming together to test how we can kickstart things safely through the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).”

Researchers at the event will examine the movements and behaviour of the crowd as part of the programme.

(Danny Lawson/PA) Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Ticket-holders were required to take a rapid lateral flow test before entry, and will also be asked to take a test after the event to gather further evidence on the safety of outdoor settings, reduced social distancing and the removal of non-pharmaceutical mitigations like face coverings, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.

They will also have to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace to ensure everyone can be traced in the event of a positive test, it added.

The ERP is looking at a range of settings and events including a business forum in Liverpool, club nights and the World Snooker Championship.

(Danny Lawson/PA) Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

It will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation, the department said.

The ERP events will provide evidence to inform decisions around the removal of social distancing at stage four of the Government’s road map, it added.

Who was on the line-up?

  • Stockport indie band Blossoms.

  • Wigan band The Lathums.

  • Liverpool singer-songwriter Zuzu.

Who could go to the gig?

  • Only people who live in the Liverpool City Region were allowed to buy tickets.

  • Attendees must be over 18.

What were the rules?

  • The crowd will not have to social distance or wear face masks, but they will need proof of a negative Covid test before entry.

  • Ticket holders will take a lateral flow test at a local testing centre before entry - waiting the 30 minutes to get their results first.

  • Attendees will then be asked to take another test after the event.

How will the research be used?

  • Scientists are looking to see if and how crowds mixing outdoors increases the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

  • Those attending will be urged to take an at-home PCR test on the day of the event and five days afterwards to ensure any transmission of the virus is properly monitored. This is a non-mandatory but important part of the event research data requested by the scientists.

  • Vaccine passports are not part of Liverpool’s pilot events programme.