The Varanger Festival in Vadsø, Norway has announced it will deliver a hybrid event with a heavily reduced capacity of 1,118, compared to its usual 12,000, due to social distancing measures.

The jazz festival will combine its traditional ticket sales with live pay-per-view streaming of each show online via TicketCo TV.

André Kvernhaug, Varanger Festival director, said: “Unfortunately COVID-19 is something event organisers will have to deal with for some time and we believe the hybrid solution we have chosen is the long-term answer.

“Normally we sell 12,000 tickets during the festival. With the social distancing rules, we have scaled down sharply. We have moved the festival to a different venue which only has a normal capacity of 250 which has been reduced to 86 per concert. With 13 concerts in all, this gives a total capacity of 1,118 tickets for the entire festival.

“Live streaming significantly expands our capacity and makes the concerts available to those who cannot or will not be able to physically attend.”

In addition, the festival will be live streamed to local care homes, and festival goers will also be able to order food and drink via the TicketCo app.

TicketCo TV is a pay-per-view live streaming service that was launched during lockdown to help event organisers. It enables promoters and venues to book performance artists and to broadcast exclusive pay-per-view events via the internet on their own TV channel.

The artists performing at this year’s festival include the Norwegian trumpeter, composer, and producer Nils Petter Molvaer (pictured).

Carl-Erik Michalsen Moberg, chief sales officer of TicketCo TV said: “We are proud to be supporting Varanger Festival and its team who are embracing technology to ensure it can keep performing and reach new audiences. We believe they are the first organisers in Europe to be producing a hybrid festival and are confident this approach will fast become the new normal in the events industry.”

Zanzibar Club

Liverpool’s Zanzibar Club has been forced to permanently close due to the financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

The venue, which has featured bands such as The Coral and The Zutons in its 30-year history, is closing its doors as the pandemic has made it “financially unattainable” to reopen.

Scott Burgess, Zanzibar’s Club director, said in a statement: “COVID-19 has been a massive kick in the teeth for everyone. There has been a tragic amount of lost lives. Peoples hopes, dreams and livelihoods are completely destroyed.

“The entertainment and music industry has had the roughest ride of all. With business restrictions and lack of proper guidance, music venues will be among the last ones to reopen.

“The Zanzibar Club has been a true survivor over the past 30 years, but with the current climate of uncertainty and the probability of remaining closed for a year, we have had to make the heart-breaking decision to permanently close our venue. With very limited time left on our lease and too many years of wear and tear on our building structure puts us in a financially unattainable position to reopen.”

The news comes after venues in Hull and Manchester announced their closure last month. Hull venues The Welly and The Polar Bear announced their closure, along with ticketing outlet, Hull Box Office, before Manchester’s Gorilla and the Deaf Institute also announced their permanent closure.