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    Sam Fender plays ‘world’s first socially-distanced gig’ to 2,500 fans at Gosforth Park

    No more dancing next to sweaty armpits! Sam Fender plays ‘world’s first socially-distanced gig’ to 2,500 fans in groups of five in raised metal pens – as Van Morrison, The Libertines and Maximo Park prepare their own post-lockdown shows

    • Singer Sam Fender, 26, took to the stage at the pop-up Virgin Money Unit Arena at Newcastle’s Gosforth Park
    • It was the UK’s first music event of its kind since March and is thought to be world’s first socially-distanced gig
    • Fans were socially-distanced  in groups of up to five in separate raised metal platforms which were kept apart
    • Sir Van Morrison, The Libertines and Maximo Park will play post-lockdown shows in August and September 

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    More than 2,500 music fans were spread out into hundreds of small fenced-off areas as they watched Sam Fender take to the stage last night, in what is thought to be the world’s first socially-distanced concert.

    The North Shields native performed a home-town gig at Newcastle’s Gosforth Park, where a pop-up venue saw fans in groups of up to five watch the concert on 500 separate raised metal platforms. 

    The event at the pop-up venue, named the Virgin Money Unity Arena, was the UK’s first music event of its kind since coronavirus restrictions were introduced in March.

    Promoters also claim it is the first socially-distanced concert in the world.

    Backed by his live band and a light show, the 26-year-old Fender performed songs from his chart-topping debut album Hypersonic Missiles.

    Audience members wore face coverings as they walked about the site and bought drinks, while one family held a oversized cut-out of the singer-songwriter’s face aloft.

    More than 2,500 music fans spread out in hundreds of small fenced-off areas as they watched Sam Fender take to the stage last night – in what is thought to be the world’s first socially-distanced concert

    The North Shields native performed a home-town gig at Newcastle's Gosforth Park, where a pop-up venue saw fans in groups of up to five watch the concert on 500 separate raised metal platforms

    The North Shields native performed a home-town gig at Newcastle’s Gosforth Park, where a pop-up venue saw fans in groups of up to five watch the concert on 500 separate raised metal platforms

    The event at the pop-up venue, named the Virgin Money Unity Arena, was the UK's first music event of its kind since coronavirus restrictions were introduced in March

    The event at the pop-up venue, named the Virgin Money Unity Arena, was the UK’s first music event of its kind since coronavirus restrictions were introduced in March

    Audience members wore face coverings as they walked about the site and bought drinks which they took back to their individual area

    Audience members wore face coverings as they walked about the site and bought drinks which they took back to their individual area

    Others had drinks served to their individual area at the concert in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, including this group who ordered Jager bombs

     Others had drinks served to their individual area at the concert in Gosforth Park, Newcastle, including this group who ordered Jager bombs

    One family held a oversized cut-out of the singer-songwriter, best known of for his single Hypersonic Missiles, aloft in their individual area

    One family held a oversized cut-out of the singer-songwriter, best known of for his single Hypersonic Missiles, aloft in their individual area

    Fender’s gig last night, and his upcoming concert on Thursday have both sold out.

    Other acts, music legend Sir Van Morrison, The Libertines and Maximo Park will follow throughout August and into September, while comedians Jimmy Carr and Bill Bailey will also play at the temporary arena.

    Helen Page, group brand and marketing director at Virgin Money, commented: ‘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.’

    Fender's gig at the Virgin Money Unity Arena last night, and his upcoming concert on Thursday at the same venue have both sold out

    Fender’s gig at the Virgin Money Unity Arena last night, and his upcoming concert on Thursday at the same venue have both sold out

    Other acts, music legend Sir Van Morrison, The Libertines and Maximo Park will follow throughout August and into September. Pictured: A group of five in their box at the concert

    Other acts, music legend Sir Van Morrison, The Libertines and Maximo Park will follow throughout August and into September. Pictured: A group of five in their box at the concert 

    While many gathered in groups of up to five, some gathered in pairs or groups of three for the gig at Gosforth Park in Newcastle

    While many gathered in groups of up to five, some gathered in pairs or groups of three for the gig at Gosforth Park in Newcastle

    Sam Fender wows the crowds at the social-distanced gig at Gosforth Park in Newcastle last night as fans watched on while socially distanced

    Sam Fender wows the crowds at the social-distanced gig at Gosforth Park in Newcastle last night as fans watched on while socially distanced

    Fender was named in the BBC Sound of 2018 list alongside the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Billie Eilish

    Fender was named in the BBC Sound of 2018 list alongside the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Billie Eilish

    The Hypersonic Missiles singer, who is from North Shields, also won the Critics' Choice Award at the 2019 Brit Awards

    The Hypersonic Missiles singer, who is from North Shields, also won the Critics’ Choice Award at the 2019 Brit Awards

    Last night's event comes after a drive-in production of the West End musical Six was cancelled due to the potential of local lockdowns amid the pandemic

    Last night’s event comes after a drive-in production of the West End musical Six was cancelled due to the potential of local lockdowns amid the pandemic

    Promoters SD Concerts said the safety of the audience is being protected, with each viewing platform having its own table, chairs and fridge.

    People from the same household arrived at the venue, parked up then enjoyed the concert from their own private area.

    Fender was named in the BBC Sound of 2018 list alongside the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Billie Eilish, and won the Critics’ Choice Award at the 2019 Brit Awards.

    Last night’s event comes after a drive-in production of the West End musical Six was cancelled due to the potential of local lockdowns amid the pandemic.

    The shows, which sold out at several venues, were expected to feature the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs, Dizzee Rascal and Sigala, the BBC reported.

    But promoters said the Government’s implementation of local lockdowns meant they couldn’t go ahead with the tour with ‘confidence.’

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