The Netherlands Is Hosting Lockdown Live Events To Test Safe Gatherings

March 25, 2021

Participants at a March 7 experimental event at the Ziggo Dome Credit: (Getty)

Article sourced from Live Design and written by Hannah Kinnersley

An experiment is taking place in the Netherlands that could help the US concert industry plan for a return to live events. On Saturday, March 7, 2021, 1,300 clubbers were allowed in to the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam for a four-hour dance party featuring DJs Sam Feldt, Lady Bee, Sunnery James, and Ryan Marciano. Although the country is technically under lockdown with restrictions on meeting other people, the closing of nonessential businesses and an evening curfew, a series of large public gatherings are being run by scientists to determine the best ways to reopen. 

All attendees had to provide proof of a negative covid test taken within 48 hours of the event, and were then tagged and split into six groups, each of which was expected to follow different behavior patterns. Some wore masks all the time, some only wore masks while moving around the arena, others were kept in one area of the venue, and a small group were given a fluorescent drink in order to track how much saliva was spread around while the participants sang and shouted. All the attendees will be retested in five days and the results will be shared with government and scientists working on the project. Two outdoor festivals in Biddinghuizen are planned for next weekend and some upcoming large sporting events are also included in the research trials.

Various other trials and special events have taken place in the last six months, either to test the efficacy of certain measures or on the assumption that those measures worked. Most have met with mixed results. In February, Peter H. Diamandis, a California tech executive apologized for hosting the Abundance 360 event in Culver City, California where 80 attendees with negative Covid test paid around $30,000 to participate in the maskless event. In a blog post, Diamandis said, “I trusted that an immunity bubble was a real thing,” but he discovered that 24 attendees had been infected at the event and 32 other people associated with the conference may also have picked up coronavirus there.

That event did confirm one piece of data that we suspected already: entertainment industry professionals are smarter than tech millionaires. Not a single one of the 35 audio visual professionals running the livestream tested positive, and they all wore masks.