And it actually seems pretty awesome.

By Cailey Rizzo
August 13, 2020
British artist Sam Fender at the Virgin Money Unity Arena where he performed a socially-distant concert.
| Credit: Thomas M Jackson / Contributor

Just because we’re all socially distancing doesn’t mean we can’t go to concerts — we just need to get creative.

This week, the Virgin Money Unity Area in Newcastle’s Gosforth Park in the United Kingdom accommodated 2,500 spectators on 500 viewing platforms for an outdoor concert experience that doesn’t require any person-to-person contact.

Concert attendees purchase their tickets online and show their booking confirmation email on their phones for entry. They park their cars and are then escorted to their socially-distanced viewing platform by venue staff. Attendees can also pre-order food and drink to be picked up upon their arrival. Signage shows that there is a bar, but there were signs that advised concert-goers to avoid going in groups.

The venue opened with a performance by indie rock act Sam Fender on Tuesday night.

The venue is currently booked through mid-September and its lineup includes performances from The Libertines, Van Morrison, and Two Door Cinema Club.

“The lack of human connection has been hard, and we wanted to be at the forefront of finding ways to safely go around to let people do what they love,” Libertines co-frontman Carl Barât told Rolling Stone on Wednesday about their upcoming show. “The fact that we’re at a place where people have to sit in their own bubbles to go to shows is mental. Like everybody, we didn’t really understand how it could work at first, but if this is the first thing we can legally do, then, yeah, sign us up.”

Credit: Thomas M Jackson / Contributor

The venue is also reserving a set number of free tickets for National Health Service (NHS) and frontline workers for each show.

Although this is the first venue built specifically for social distancing, some clever people have found ways of organizing musical gatherings throughout the pandemic. In Germany, a drive-in club allowed people to party in their cars and Berlin is turning its outdoor spaces into open-air nightclubs.