In good news for live music, Primavera Sound in Barcelona trialed a COVID-safe indoor concert with just under 463 attendees and no social distancing. All participants were required to take a COVID-19 test with a negative result before entering the show, nicknamed PRIMA-CoV. Even though there were DJs, live bands, and alcoholic beverages, Dr. Boris Revollo, the virologist who designed the study’s protocols clarified to the AP that: “This is not a party, this is a scientific study.”
So had did the study work? Primavera Sound partnered with the Fight AIDS and Infectious Diseases Foundation and the University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol in Badalona. The hypothesis according to the website was that a “live concert performed under safe conditions would not be associated with an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infections.”
1047 attendees between the ages of 18-59 were screened and then randomly assigned 1:1 to go inside the concert or not (the control group). Along with the same-day negative results, participants were mandated to wear an N95 mask. You were allowed to remove the mask to take a drink.
The five-hour event took place at the Sala Apolo venue in Barcelona. For reference, here is a picture of the Sleaford Mods performing live there in 2017 (if you squint you can see Steve Albini watching from the stage side). Safety measures also included an outdoor smoking area with strict controls and optimized airflow between the two indoor rooms.
Eight days after the show, all attendees were tested with negative results (two from the control group tested positive). While more studies are needed, this is another encouraging sign that we can return to live events with the proper safety protocols put in place.