By Joe Gammie, PA
Thousands of revellers have come together for a pilot music festival hailed as a milestone towards getting live events running again.
Around 5,000 descended on Sefton Park in Liverpool on Sunday for the outdoor gig which includes performances from Blossoms, The Lathums and Liverpool singer-songwriter Zuzu.
Everyone had to produce negative coronavirus tests to enter the event but did not have to wear face coverings or follow social distancing rules.
UK Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said: “Today is a momentous occasion to celebrate as fans get their first taste of a music festival for more than a year – and all in the name of science.
“There is nothing quite like the collective experience of hearing your favourite act live in the atmosphere of a festival and I hope everyone has a fantastic day.
“We’ve supported the live music sector through the pandemic with £250 million in grants from our Culture Recovery Fund going to more than 2,000 organisations.
“Now we want to get audiences back to the events they love and see the live music industry rebooted.
“Today’s event is a milestone with thousands of people coming together to test how we can kickstart things safely through the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).”
Researchers at the event will examine the movements and behaviour of the crowd as part of the programme.
Ticket-holders were required to take a rapid lateral flow test before entry, and will also be asked to take a test after the event to gather further evidence on the safety of outdoor settings, reduced social distancing and the removal of non-pharmaceutical mitigations like face coverings, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.
They will also have to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace to ensure everyone can be traced in the event of a positive test, it added.
The ERP is looking at a range of settings and events including a business forum in Liverpool, club nights and the World Snooker Championship.
It will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation, the department said.
The ERP events will provide evidence to inform decisions around the removal of social distancing at stage four of the Government’s road map, it added.