Is this the future of concerts and music festivals?

Katie Upton | Lifestyle Editor

On Tuesday 11th August, singer/songwriter Sam Fender debuted the first socially distanced concert at Virgin Money Unity Arena, the first of its kind in the UK. 

After postponing his ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ Tour until spring 2021, the musician from Newcastle wanted to bring some of his undeniable charms back into the eye of his supporters. 2500 tickets were sold for the show within minutes of release to see the critics’ choice winner.

Logistically speaking the event was well-planned, allowing people to book in groups of five for one of the platforms. In terms of food and drink, beverages could be pre-booked online then delivered to the area. A one-way system is in place to maintain government social distancing measures at all times and when leaving your platform, face masks were compulsory.


I spoke to a number of people who attended this landmark event and as you will see the feedback was all positive. I asked interviewees three key questions:

  1. How were safety measures enforced whilst you were at the event?
  2. Do you feel that Sam is paving the way for future music events, if so why?
  3. How likely are you to attend a similar event in the future?


Oliver Barnard, 15, Newcastle Upon Tyne & Sophie Williamson, 19, Bedlington 

“I think safety measures were very well dealt with and everyone followed the rules. I felt very safe when walking around the venue, and I felt very safe and secure as everyone was wearing masks at all times away from platforms! And there was lots of room for queuing for food and drink, and the toilets were cleaned amazingly”

“I think Sam has started off something that could really be the future of live music. He mentioned a few times how proud he is to do this. I think it’s a wonderful concept to be used in the future for definite!”

“I would absolutely happily go to another event similar! Everything about the experience was extremely well organised, set out and neat. The atmosphere was amazing and it is such a brilliant way of reviving live music. Live music has been revived. I would definitely recommend and go back myself. It brings joy to your heart. Normality will return one day, but for now, this is the best way around.”

“So you had to wear a mask on your way into the venue until you got to your pod. Every time you left your pod you would wear your mask whether that be for the toilet or the bar. They social distanced the queue the best they could as well and I’d say that it was quite well organised.”

“I do believe that Sam and the northeast have really paved the way for future music events during this time, I would also say that for those people with anxiety and crowd anxiety would appreciate the set up very much as I know it made me feel safe knowing I was with people I knew and I couldn’t get crushed in a mosh pit.”

“I’d say I would be very likely to attend a similar event in the future as it really is something that I appreciated and I believe the fact that the atmosphere was half as good shows what an excellent musician Sam is.”

Overall, based on the comments from the attendees it seems as if safety measures were upheld throughout the event, leaving many people wanting to come back in the future if this format was approved in venues across the country.


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