Music fans in Barcelona hugged, danced and sang along at a sold out rock concert Saturday night after running quick Covid-19 tests in a test that could revitalize the live music industry in Spain and beyond.
Around 5,000 fans of Spanish indie band Love of Lesbian were forced to wear masks, but no social distancing was required in the Palau Sant Jordi arena.
“It was spectacular. We felt safe at all times. We were in the front row and it was something we had missed a lot, “said 29-year-old publicist Salvador after the show. “We are very proud to be able to participate. We hope it will be the first of many. “
In surreal scenes after a year of social distancing, fans danced close together, but the sea of faces covered in masks showed that things were not entirely normal.
Health checks at the entrance delayed the start of the concert, but could not dampen the festive spirit.
“Welcome to one of the most exciting concerts of our life!” Singer Santi Balmes told the crowd to a cheer.
The government-approved concert served as a test of whether similar events can be resumed.
“It will be safer to be in Palau Sant Jordi than walking down the street,” concert co-organizer Jordi Herreruela told Reuters on Saturday.
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The pre-concert tests at three locations in Barcelona were carried out by 80 nurses wearing all personal protective equipment. Some people winced when nurses wiped their noses.
By noon, three out of 2,400 people who had already been examined had tested positive, and one had come into contact with a positive case, said Dr. Josep Maria Libre, a doctor who oversaw the tests. They were unable to attend the concert and were given a refund.
Participants received their antigen test results in 10 to 15 minutes via an app on their cell phones. The test and a mask were included in the ticket price.
“I think today we made a thing a reality that is to show the world that culture is safe,” said Ramon, a 49-year-old fan.
Spain had one of the worst early Covid-19 outbreaks in Europe, with just over 75,000 deaths since the pandemic began.