In Newcastle, England, two days ago, musician Sam Fender had a concert. No, not the type of concert that Smash Mouth had last week that will most assuredly lead to a mass spreading event of COVID-19, a pandemic that requires people stay a far distance from one another, wear masks, try not to gather in crowds, and limit nonessential trips out of the house, but it actually looked relatively safe.
Fender’s concert, an outdoor concert, is being called the “world’s first socially distanced gig” and instead of a mass of people dancing and singing in a crowd, spitting all over each other, the crowd was put into socially distanced “pods.” Yes, it’s a little bit dystopian to see it — especially given that the majority of the concert-goers were wearing masks throughout the concert, a sheer reminder of how strange things have become this year — but it’s also somewhat comforting to see people in public, doing things.
The UK’s first socially distanced gig is happening now in Newcastle with @samfendermusic headlining, and where attendees have their own private viewing area with 2m of space between them. Here’s what it looks like #samfender #unityarena pic.twitter.com/YBdxpAjYyi
— Kieron Donoghue (@kierondonoghue) August 11, 2020
The pods, of which there were 500 and could hold up to 5 people, meaning about 2500 people could attend the concert, were actually more like metal platforms with chairs. They were placed far away from one another and groups of friends could sit with each other while also having the added benefit of not being close to strangers.
— Craig Henaghan (@hen5269) August 11, 2020
For parents, the concert venue looks like a welcome solution to the fact that going to concerts is simply impossible when you’re a parent. After all, a gated area where your kid can sit on your lap and you have plenty of space from strangers who could trample you and your little one seems like a pretty sweet gig, almost like a concert slash picnic. It’s worth noting that the venue the concert took place at is also always set up in this way — so while Fender might be the first person to have a concert like this in the pandemic — for the parents of Newcastle, he certainly won’t be the last. Which is pretty sweet.