FOLLOWING the success of last Saturday’s (March 27) Love of Lesbian concert in Barcelona, which drew 5,000 people with all the required COVID precautions in place, the Valencian authorities are considering something similar for the summer.
Footage of the Palau Sant Jordi gig surprised viewers all over the world, who marvelled at the sight of thousands of people together in one place, without social distancing but with masks on at all times, negative antigen tests before entering and a full track and trace system in place.
Several fans were turned away at the door and ordered to quarantine after their test came back positive.
For the rest, Saturday seemed to recall happier, more normal times, as the famous Catalan band delighted the audience with their hits and made everyone forget about the pandemic for a while.
This week, the Valencian Health and Tourism authorities have begun negotiations with concert promoters to study the Barcelona show and find ways of adapting the measures to the Valencia region.
The plan is to enable summer concerts and maybe even festivals to take place again this year, when most large international events have already been written off and rescheduled for 2022.
Live music has been one of the hardest-hit sectors by the anti-COVID restrictions, suffering losses of over 90% in some cases.
A Valencian delegation of promoters and authorities travelled to Barcelona to check out the event and talk to organisers, accompanied by managers of other large public events such as the Mobile World Congress and Madrid’s Ifema conference hall.
The biggest obstacle to replicating the Love of Lesbian show appears to be the high cost, as organisers reportedly invested more than €60,000 in sanitary expenses, including antigen tests and FFP2 masks for everyone.
One possible solution being suggested is to book cheaper headline acts and encourage local talent.
An additional point in favour of holding similar events in the Valencia region this summer is that they would all take place in the open air, which is said to vastly reduce the risk of COVID infection.
Promoters also hope that when the time comes to schedule these festivals and gigs in the summer, sanitary expenses could be lower thanks to widespread vaccination and the availability of ‘auto-tests’, both of which would cut costs for organisers and help make the events more financially viable.
Possible venues being suggested in Valencia city include the City of Arts and Sciences and the Marina, with views to allow between 5,000 and 7,000 punters into spaces of up to 15,000 square metres.
Either way, regional Public Health secretary Isaura Navarro insists on waiting to get the results through from the Barcelona trial to make sure it doesn’t lead to a COVID outbreak.