KEY POINTS

  • Barcelona held its first massive concert since the beginning of the pandemic Saturday with over 5,000 attendees
  • Fans were required to wear face masks throughout the event but were not required to observe social distancing
  • Attendees underwent rapid COVID-19 testing prior to being allowed into the Palau Sant Jordi arena

Taking a bold step toward normality, Spain hosted a huge rock concert at the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona Saturday. The 5,000 attendees, who underwent rapid COVID-19 testing before being allowed into the venue, were required to wear face masks throughout the event.

With social distancing not being required, fans of the indie band Love of Lesbian danced, hugged and sang along in the city's first massive concert since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, NBC News reported. Photos of the rock concert seemed like a glorious reunion with the past as people relished the opportunity to enjoy a moment while in the company of others once again.

Although the photos were proof that the situation still hasn't gone completely back to normal in Spain, attendees of the said event expressed great satisfaction with the government-approved concert, with some remarking that they felt safe throughout the event.

“It was spectacular. We felt safe at all times. We were in the front row and it was something we’d missed a lot,” said publicist Salvador, 29, after the show. “We are very proud to have had the chance to take part in this. We hope it’ll be the first of many.”

To ensure the concertgoers' safety, health controls were placed at the entrance of the arena. A total of 80 nurses were also assigned to three pre-concert testing locations to conduct rapid COVID-19 testing for the attendees. Results would be received by the attendees after 10 to 15 minutes via an app on their phones.

The imposed safety measures delayed the start of the concert as people lined up to get tested prior to entering the arena. By midday, around 2,400 out of the 5,000 people had been tested, and three attendees tested positive for COVID-19. Those who tested positive were prohibited from attending the concert and were given a refund. Temperatures and IDs were also checked at the entrance of the stadium.

"We expect it to be completely safe. Over the next 14 days, we will look at how many of the audience test positive for Covid and will report back," Dr. Josep Maria Llibre, who oversaw the testing, told AFP news agency.

The sold-out rock concert was one of the largest gatherings in Europe in more than a year, according to BBC News. It served as a test for whether or not huge events can be held safely once again.

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra performs in a parking lot at Trudeau International Airport on August 5, 2020 during a socially distanced "drive-in" concert The Montreal Symphony Orchestra performs in a parking lot at Trudeau International Airport on August 5, 2020 during a socially distanced "drive-in" concert Photo: AFP / Eric THOMAS