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Test shows at Rockhal arena to help ‘prepare for a return’ to live

Five pilot concerts will be held at Luxembourg’s Rockhal arena next month with a view to accelerating the safe return of live events.

The test shows, to be examined by The Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA) lobbying group, will take place from February 10-14 in the arena’s 1,200-capacity club venue, with audiences limited to 100.

The lobbying group, which is an offshoot of the European Arenas Association (EAA), said its series of Because Music Matters concerts, hosted in conjunction with health officials, will be assessed at a free-to-attend virtual conference. It will explore what support the sector needs from policymakers on both a national and EU level to enable long-term resilience and future growth.

“The discussion will bring together high-level speakers representing EU institutions, national governments as well as the sports and live music sectors,” ARA said in an announcement.

The limited capacity events will enforce “strict physical distancing,” as well as mask wearing, and attendees will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the event and again seven days later to allow close monitoring by local health bodies.

French techno artist Mezerg, electro-house act Cleveland and metal band Fusion Bomb are among the acts to perform at the pilots shows.

Olivier Toth, Rockhal chief executive and ARA co-founder, said: “Our Because Music Matters showcase at Rockhal is an important step forward in testing the safety measures we can employ to support our back to business strategies. I look forward to sharing our experience and insights from these events.”

ARA’s virtual conference, #AGameofTwoHalves: The Return Leg, will explore how arenas and large capacity venues across Europe are preparing for a safe and sustainable reopening. It will be streamed live on February 18 via the EAA YouTube Channel and Facebook page.

The ARA was formed by Toth and Robert Fitzpatrick, chief executive of The Odyssey Trust in Northern Ireland, which owns The SSE Arena, Belfast, with the backing of the EAA, which represents 36 indoor arenas from 22 European countries.

Fitzpatrick added: “The ARA is proud to provide an opportunity for the industry to come together with key EU decision-makers to prepare for a return to live events, whilst working to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities and the sustainability of our industry, which will be central to the economic and societal recovery of countries across Europe.

“Together, we can build regional and national frameworks, with international collaboration that will help us get back to business.”