In many parts of the world, the coronavirus seems to have subsided to a degree where certain restrictions are being lifted and people are finally able to become more social in public—at a distance, with a mask, responsibly, of course. So, life is beginning to go back to normal ever so slightly.

With this, also comes the news that the UK is bringing back concerts in the form of the social distancing concert venue that is specifically designed to enforce the 6-feet physical distancing rule all the while still allowing people to gather for an outdoor concert and to dance your feet off.

As lockdown restrictions are lifted, more and more aspects of social life are also returning

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So, the Virgin Money Unity Arena was built in Gosforth Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Gosforth Park is a spacious green area that includes a number of venues, namely the Newcastle Racecourse, the Britannia Hotel, some golf courses, a garden, a football center, and now the above mentioned social distancing concert arena.

The concert venue extends 480,000 square feet (or 45,000 square meters) and has 500 viewing spaces (some refer to them as “pods”). Each space can be occupied by up to 5 people, bringing the venue’s maximum people count to 2.500.

The venue can be accessed by car (whether your own or a taxi) or by bike. Unfortunately, there is no possibility to reach the venue on foot, nor is there any bus or coach service. Staying overnight is also not an option.

UK citizens are now able to attend “socially-distant” concerts that mind the 6-foot gap

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When people purchase a ticket, they are allocated a specific arrival time and a specific space within the venue, to which you are guided upon arrival, to reduce the risk of overcrowding and to ensure all lockdown rules are followed. For those same reasons, people will not be able to re-enter the venue if they need to leave mid-concert.

Each space can also be provided with chairs, so you won’t have to bring yours if need be, and there’s even a food and drink ordering system, eliminating the need to queue as there’s an app. You either pick it up yourself from the stall, or it is delivered to your space in the venue.

The Virgin Money Unity Arena is in Gosforth Park and features raised platforms for 5-people groups every 6 feet

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Singer and songwriter Sam Fender kicked off the season at the Virgin Money Unity Arena on August 11th and 13th. It was a homecoming gig for Fender whose debut album “Hypersonic Missiles” became the number one album just last year. The gig was sold out.

The likes of Patrick Topping, Superglass, and the Libertines are also set to perform here. Apart from music, comedians Adam Kay and Jimmy Carr will also take the stage later this month.

The 480,000-square-feet open air concert venue can fit up to 2,500 people with its 500 designated spaces

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“We are delighted to play a part in bringing back live music events as we start to emerge from lockdown,” said Helen Page, group brand and marketing director at Virgin Money. “This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans.”

Now, technically speaking, this isn’t the world’s first socially distanced concert venue as there were a number of concerts done from home where social distancing is a given, and there were also a number of “drive-in” concerts around the globe where people would come in with their cars and enjoy the concerts pretty much like people used to do with drive-in movies.

For safety reasons, areas are assigned upon ticket purchase along with a specific time of arrival

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People can get chairs if they feel like sitting and also order drinks and food via an app

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However, it seems to be the first attempt at a concert in the traditional sense following the coronavirus—a vast festival-like concert venue out in the open with room to dance and move around, with a proper physical stage right in front of you, and the ability to go grab a beer or a snack at the local drinks and food stall.

Now, while many were happy that concerts are getting back to normal, others missed the whole atmosphere of being in a crowd and mosh pitting with more than just 4 other people. Regardless, concerts are selling out and people are enjoying themselves no matter the conditions as it’s much better than being cooped up in a car or staying at home.

Sam Fender kicked off the season at the Virgin Money Unity Arena on August 11th

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The venue is planned to be used for concerts, comedy shows, as well as other performances

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Check out a brief overview of the concert grounds before the performance


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