Brit Awards to mark return of live music to O2 Arena 

It takes place tonight, marking the first live music show at the venue in more than a year
Brit Awards to mark return of live music to O2 Arena 

Taylor Swift is to become the first female artist to win the global icon Brit Award. The US singer will be presented with the prize on Tuesday during the ceremony. Picture: PA/PA Wire

The Brit Awards will return to London's O2 Arena tonight, marking the first live music show at the venue in more than a year.

There will be an audience of 4,000 people at this year's event, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, as part of the Government's live events pilot scheme, with 2,500 tickets gifted to key workers from the Greater London area.

Audience members attending the indoor ceremony will not be socially distanced or required to wear face coverings once seated.

They will, however, need proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the venue and will be required to provide details to NHS Test and Trace and follow UK Government guidance while travelling.

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said: "Music has been a great source of comfort and connection during the pandemic.

"Tonight we'll bring the industry back together with 2,500 key workers to celebrate another year of brilliant British music and look ahead to the return of fans to live performances."

"While venues have been closed, we helped the live music sector with £250 million in grants from our Culture Recovery Fund going to more than 2,000 organisations.

"But now we're preparing to restart live performances and as part of the Events Research Programme, this year's Brits will test how we can welcome back bigger crowds to enjoy more fantastic performances safely."

The ceremony will air live on ITV and ITV Hub from 8pm, while Chelcee Grimes and Arielle Free will host the international live stream via the Brits YouTube page.

Yasmin Evans and AJ Odudu will host a stream of the red carpet, which has been limited in capacity this year, and there will also be a watch party on Twitter.

Dua Lipa, Arlo Parks, Celeste, rap duo Young T & Bugsey and DJ and producer Joel Corry are all nominated for three awards this year.

Jessie Ware, dance music duo Bicep and rappers AJ Tracey, J Hus and Headie One all scored two nominations apiece.

Coldplay will start the ceremony with a performance of new single Higher Power from a pontoon on the River Thames.

They join Arlo Parks, Dua Lipa, Griff, Headie One, Olivia Rodrigo and Rag'n'Bone Man and Pink with the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Choir on the live billing for the event.

Tuesday's show will also see Taylor Swift celebrated with the global icon Brit Award, becoming the first female artist to win the prize.

She is being recognised for "her immense impact on music across the world and incredible repertoire and achievements to date", according to organisers.

Comedian Whitehall is returning for a fourth time to host the awards show.

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