Culture

This New Study Offers Encouraging News for Indoor Concerts

A German study found low risk for COVID-19 infection at indoor concerts with proper safety precautions.

In the last few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has done irreparable damage to the live events and festival circuit. Major festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Afropunk shut down their operations due to the virus. On Tuesday, however, the New York Times reported a bit of good news for the prospect of indoor concerts.

Back in August, a group of German researchers at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg hosted a test concert for the local pop singer Tim Bendzko. Around 1,400 people volunteered their services, and ultimately the event was a success. Researchers found that the risk of spreading COVID-19 was “low to very low,” provided the venues offer good ventilation, strict hygiene rules and limited attendance.

Participants were given masks and tracking devices. For ten hours, they simulated different concert scenarios, one with no social distancing, one with some distancing, and one with strict social distancing. Between sets, researchers tracked attendees’ movements around the venue. The study finds that interpersonal contact peaked during the break periods and went people entered the venue.

Volunteers were given a fluorescent disinfectant to track and examine the most-touched surfaces in the venue. Researchers used a fog machine to calculate the spread of aerosol droplets. The conclusion? Finding proper air circulation and bringing as much clean air into the venue was the best way to decrease exposure. Additionally, they suggest implementing seated food and drink breaks, mandating masks, and employing multiple venue entrances.

For the record, the study hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet. This is just the first step towards reviving the live music industry. Stay tuned for further updates.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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