U.K. Racetrack to Become First 'Dedicated Socially Distanced Venue' - Rolling Stone
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U.K. Racetrack to Become First ‘Dedicated Socially Distanced Venue’

Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle, England can accommodate 2,500 people while maintaining social distance mandates

While coronavirus has halted the live music industry, one U.K. racetrack is converting into the first "dedicated socially distanced venue."

UPDATE (7/27): Van Morrison has been added to the lineup. The singer will perform on September 3rd.

UPDATE (7/7): Two Door Cinema Club, Supergrass and the Libertines lead the initial lineup at the world’s first socially distanced venue.

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While coronavirus has halted large-scale live music events like summer music festivals and stadium tours, one U.K. racetrack is converting itself into the first “dedicated socially distanced venue.”

The Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle, England will modify the city’s racetrack to accommodate 500 viewing platforms, with a maximum of attendance of 2,500 people allowed. Each viewing station, positioned to face the stage, will be approximately six feet apart.

The venue will announce its initial lineup of artists, entertainers and comedians on Tuesday, July 7th, with shows to set begin in August.

The venue, conceived by SSD Concerts, also promises to follow all social distancing mandates, from the parking lot to the bathrooms to the viewing area.

All staff will have training in advance about the safety procedures for maintaining hygiene including hand washing, wearing gloves when serving and delivering food. Staff and support stewards will be required to wear masks at all times,” the venue’s website states.

Ged Bell of Newcastle city council told the Guardian that the Virgin Money Unity Arena is “a brilliant innovation where people will be able to enjoy top bands in a safe, responsible and socially distanced way.”

SSD Concerts’ Steve Davis added, “We think even in these hard times the people of the northeast will come out in their thousands to see the artists they love.”

The venue also pledged to donate a limited number of free tickets to each show to National Health Service workers.

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