French fans revel in 'freedom' of first concert in over a year at Covid trial
Thousands of fans of veteran French rock band Indochine have hailed a new sense of freedom after a clinical trial concert in Paris to assess the risk of Covid transmission at events without social distancing. Results from the first major concert in more than a year are expected late June.
Around 5,000 concert goers took part in the experimental event at Paris's Bercy concert hall on Saturday. A further 2,500 volunteers who did not attend the concert will serve as a comparison group.
"It's been so long that we have waited for a reopening of this kind of event. So finding a concert, in addition to it being Indochine, is really great," said Camille, 26, from the Paris suburbs.
“It was excellent, it feels great to have your ears ringing again. There was a great atmosphere," another participant told news channel CNews. “It's a new sense of freedom."
Lyrics from one song, Marilyn, seemed to express what many music fans have been feeling: "We want to live... even stronger."
Before being admitted, the concert goers, all aged 18-45 with no special risk factors, handed over an envelope containing a saliva test done earlier on Saturday.
Each person was also required to have had a negative antigen test in the last three days.
No social distancing
Once inside, no social distancing was required but masks were compulsory.
Due to the 9pm curfew still in place in France, the concert started earlier than usual with Indochine on stage by 6pm.
Similar trials have already taken place elsewhere in Europe and the Bercy concert had been postponed a number of times.
It finally went ahead two days before the extension of France's vaccination programme to all adults, selecting participants from among 20,000 volunteers.
Results by late June
Results from the concert goers study, organised at the initiative of the AP-HP (Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris) and Prodiss, the national union for musical and variety shows, with government support, are expected by late June.
Previous experimental events in Spain and Britain have not shown any increased risk of transmission.
As the French summer music festival season approaches however, several major events have already decided to throw in the towel.
They are only authorised to go ahead, if fans are limited to one per four square metres.
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