Back in July, German scientists from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg announced plans to study how the COVID-19 virus spreads in a concert environment. The initial results from this study have now been released, and while these results still need to be peer reviewed, the scientists have concluded that mask-wearing, distanced seating, proper ventilation, reduced capacity and hygiene protocols have made the risk of spreading the virus through indoor concerts “low to very low.” This experiment took place at an indoor stadium in the city of Leipzig, where an audience of 4,000 people saw singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko perform.
“There is no argument for not having such a concert,” Dr. Michael Gekle, one of the scientists who did the study, commented. “The risk of getting infected is very low.”
While this study looks promising, venues face issues with holding events at reduced capacities, as they often rely on events selling-out or close to selling-out to continue operating. Socially-distanced concerts have experienced these issues within other experiments, such as Frank Turner’s socially distanced concert back in July. The venue manager Ally Wolf commented that these types of events were “not a financial model that the industry can remotely rely upon to get to be sustainable.”
This study does come at a dire time for concert venues however. According to a study published this summer, 90 percent of independent music venues across the country could shut down without government aid. While legislation such as the Save Our Stages Act has passed through the U.S. House of Representatives, prominent figures within the music industry such as executive Marc Geiger have made plans to buy majority stakes in venues across the country as a bailout.
Photo Credit: Stephen Hoffmeister