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New socially distanced venue in UK unveils initial wave of acts

The Libertines and comedian Jason Manford have been announced among the first acts to perform at the UK’s first purpose-built socially distanced venue from next month.

The Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle, run by SSD Concerts, has also announced Maximo Park, Two Door Cinema Club, Craig Charles and comedian Bill Bailey in the initial wave of acts.

Tickets for events at the 2,500-capacity COVID-19-safe live music arena, based at Newcastle Racecourse, will go on sale from Friday.

The newly transformed venue at the Gosforth Park venue will accommodate 500 viewing platforms spaced two metres apart.

Guests will arrive by car or bike and will have access to their own personal dance/viewing platform, complete with a table, chairs and personal fridge.

The venue will have a one-way system for access to the toilet facilities, while food and drinks will be available for pre-order.

Helen Page, group brand and marketing director at Virgin Money, said: “At Virgin Money we are being as innovative as possible during these challenging times, and music is very much at the heart of our new brand direction.

“We are delighted to play a part in bringing back live music events as we start to emerge from lockdown. This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans. We’re looking forward to partnering with The Unity Arena on this event near to our Virgin Money home in Gosforth.”

Funk and soul DJ Craig Charles will kickstart the festival on August 14, with Two Door Cinema Club to perform at the new arena on Saturday, August 15. The Libertines will play the venue on August 29, with more acts to be unveiled soon.