Lasting less than six hours and with a 10 p.m. curfew, the festival was a far cry from the multi-day hedonism of bigger events like Glastonbury, but those attending said there was nowhere else they’d rather be. “Let’s enjoy life, let’s get back to normal!” said 25-year old labourer Harry Smith.
People attend a test music festival as part of a national research programme assessing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in Liverpool, Britain May 2, 2021. Live music returned to the birthplace of The Beatles after a long coronavirus-enforced silence on Sunday when the English city of Liverpool hosted a one-off music festival to test whether such events spread the virus.
In the name of science and music, about 5,000 people ditched face coverings and social distancing rules. They went to the outdoor event despite having tested negative for COVID-19, they have promised to get tested again five days later.
The government’s Events Research Programme will use their data to better understand the impact of crowds on the spread of the virus.
But the scientific side of the event was far from the minds of revellers as they danced through the gates of Sefton Park.
“It just feels so good, so amazing – it’s been too long,” said 19-year-old student Meghan Butler.
The Managing Director of Festival Republic, Melvin Benn, said he hoped his pilot project would play a key part in getting outdoor events back on the calendar this year.
“Once they get into the show they can party as though it’s 2019,” he said. “You can feel that the burden of the last 12 months, the last 15 months, has just been lifted a little.”
Three acts performed in a specially constructed tent on Sunday: local singer-songwriter Zuzu, up-and-coming indie group The Lathums, and headliners Blossoms.
Blossoms lead singer Tom Ogden said: “It’s been 413 days since we were last on stage … It’s been a long time and we’re delighted to be here.”