Written by: Charlotte Bredael
As reported by NME, The UK’s first socially distanced music venue is set to open in Newcastle this summer.
The Virgin Money Unity Arena, which is set to open at Newcastle Racecourse, will allow fans across the North East to enjoy music for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The full line-up for the shows will be unveiled on Tuesday July 7, but organisers say that fans can expect a mixture of live music, DJ sets, family entertainment and comedy from a selection of household names.
Headed up by the team behind the city’s This Is Tomorrow Festival and SSD Concerts, the venue will be mapped out with a series of individual viewing areas, which are safely located at least two metres apart from one another.
Fans will also be able to pre-order food and drinks, while a one-way system will allow for the safe and full use of toilet facilities.
Steve Davis, the managing director of SSD Concerts, said: “Since all of our scheduled concerts have been postponed to later in the year and all venues in the city closed, the staff at SSD had a willingness to continue.
“We can’t be without music during these times so our only thought has been how can we bring music back to the British public safely and responsibly.
“We have been hosting loads of live sessions and DJ sets across our social media, supporting local artists and raising money for the NHS. Now, we’re taking it one step further as the UK slowly comes out of Lockdown.
“Working with our brand new partner Virgin Money has been exciting and we think even in these hard times the people of the north east will come out in their thousands to see the artists they love.
“Further announcements will be coming in the coming weeks, but we’re excited to say we already have several high-profile artists signed up.”
Newcastle City Council Cabinet member for Employment and Culture Ged Bell, added: “The city has a great reputation for hosting music and cultural events. While this pandemic has hit the sector particularly hard, the concert planned at the Racecourse is a brilliant innovation where people will be able to enjoy top bands in a safe, responsible and socially-distanced way. It is fantastic to see such a creative response to enable us to experience live performances once again.”
The shows come after the UK’s first drive-in gigs were announced last month. The likes of Dizzee Rascal, The Streets and Kaiser Chiefs will all play shows this summer as part of the new concert series.