James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Thousands flock to pilot music festival in Liverpool after negative Covid tests
2 May 2021, 19:00 | Updated: 2 May 2021, 22:20
Thousands of revellers have come together for a pilot music festival hailed as a milestone in getting live events running again.
Around 5,000 people descended on Sefton Park in Liverpool on Sunday evening for the outdoor gig.
They all had to produce negative coronavirus tests to enter but did not have to wear face coverings or follow social distancing rules.
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)."
The gig included performances from Blossoms, The Lathums and Liverpool singer-songwriter Zuzu.
The aim of the event was to allow researchers to examine the movements and behaviour of the crowd to learn more about the safety of outdoor settings, reduced social distancing and the removal face coverings.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said ticket-holders were required to take a rapid lateral flow test before entry and also be asked to take a test after the event.
They also had to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace to ensure everyone can be traced in the event of a positive test.
The ERP is looking at a range of settings and events including a business forum in Liverpool, club nights and the World Snooker Championship.
The events are taking place to help inform decisions around the removal of social distancing at stage four of the Government's road map.
Different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols will be explored.