‘It was spectacular’: 5,000 fans pack Barcelona concert after rapid Covid tests

Concert aimed at reviving live music sees mandatory masks but no social distancing

Some 5,000 people attended a rock concert in Barcelona on Saturday after same-day Covid testing. Three of the first 2,400 people tested ahead of the concert came back positive and were unable to attend. Video: Reuters

 

Music fans in Barcelona hugged, danced and sang along at a sold-out rock concert on Saturday night after taking rapid Covid-19 tests in a trial that could revive the live music industry in Spain and beyond.

Some 5,000 fans at the show for Spanish indie band Love of Lesbian had to wear masks but social distancing was not required in the Palau Sant Jordi arena.

“It was spectacular. We felt safe at all times. We were in the front row and it was something we’d missed a lot,” said publicist Salvador (29) after the show. “We are very proud to have had the chance to take part in this. We hope it’ll be the first of many.”

In surreal scenes after a year of social distancing, fans danced close to one another, but the sea of faces covered in masks showed that total normality had not yet been restored.

Health controls at the entrance to the arena delayed the start of the concert, but could not dampen the celebratory spirit.

“Welcome to one of the most exciting concerts of our lives!” lead singer Santi Balmes told the crowd to a roar of cheers.

Some 5,000 fans at a concert by band Love of Lesbian at the Palau Sant Jordi stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday. Photograph: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg
Some 5,000 fans at a concert by band Love of Lesbian at the Palau Sant Jordi stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday. Photograph: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

The government-approved concert served as a test for whether similar events will be able to start up again.

“It will be safer to be in the Palau Sant Jordi than walking down the street,” concert co-organiser Jordi Herreruela said earlier on Saturday.

Pre-concert testing at three Barcelona locations was carried out by 80 nurses wearing full personal protective equipment. Some people winced as nurses swabbed their noses.

By midday, three out of 2,400 people already screened had tested positive and one had come into contact with a positive case, said Dr Josep Maria Libre, a doctor who oversaw the testing. They were unable to attend the concert and would get a refund.

Attendees received their antigen test results in 10 to 15 minutes via an app on their phones. The test and a mask were included in the ticket price.

“I believe today we have made one thing a reality which is to show the world that culture is safe,” said Ramon, a 49-year-old fan. – Reuters