English music-lovers party like it’s 2019 at COVID pilot festival

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Live music returned to the birthplace of The Beatles after a long coronavirus-enforced silence on Sunday when the English city of Liverpool hosted a one-off music festival to test whether such events spread the virus.

Around 5,000 people ditched face coverings and social distancing rules in the name of science and music. They attended the outdoor event having tested negative for COVID-19, and promised to get themselves tested again five days after the festival.

Their data will be used by the government’s Events Research Programme to help understand the effect of crowds on the spread of the virus.

But the scientific side of the event was far from the minds of revellers as they danced through the gates of Sefton Park.

“It just feels so good, so amazing – it’s been too long,” said 19-year-old student Meghan Butler.

Melvin Benn, Managing Director of Festival Republic, said he hoped his pilot project would play a key part in getting outdoor events back on the calendar this year.

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