Fans give their verdict on the UK's first socially distanced concert featuring Sam Fender

Fans give their verdict on the UK's first socially distanced concert featuring Sam Fender

They always say "all great art is born out of suffering". In the case of live events this year, you can say "all creative concert venues are born out of a pandemic".

Marking itself as the first socially-distanced concert venue, The Virgin Money Unity Arena has transformed the Newcastle Racecourse into a 2,500 capacity event space, which most recently hosted their first concert featuring British indie-rock act Sam Fender

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In the advent of COVID-19 which inadvertently halted the live music industry, the team behind Newcastle's This is Tomorrow festival and SSD Concerts conjured up this safe environment to enjoy live music again. On 11 August, the venue saw full attendance for the 'Will We Talk?' singer. The 2,500 attendees were separated into 500 elevated platforms, spaced two metres apart. In every sense of the word, it's was a live concert - just minus the stuffy and sweaty crowds.


This marks a new era for live events, with many similar concert concepts rising up across the globe. Earlier in the year, Denmark saw the arrival of drive-in concerts; while most recently, Thailand witnessed its first Tuk Tuk Drive-in festival

Performing hits from his highly-acclaimed album Hypersonic Missiles, Sam Fender is the first of many in The Virgin Money Unity Arena's concert series. Well-known British acts like Van Morrison, The Libertines, Two Door Cinema Club, and more are set to take the socially-distanced stage soon.

Throughout the event, attendees couldn't help but share this "new normal" on social media, with many in awe of the event precautions while others expressed the delight of finally being in the presence of live music. Check out what some social media users, including Irish TV host Eoghan McDermott, had to say:

Of course, with the pandemic still wreaking havoc in major parts of the world, many still express concern for live gigs regardless of how socially distanced they are. 

Nevertheless, this is a trailblazing moment for the live music industry in this age of COVID-19.

Check out the schedule for the rest of the venue's concert series here, with performances up until 13 September: