Following the lead of researchers in Germany, Spain the Netherlands, the U.K. government’s Events Research Programme held a test event over the weekend. For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 6,000 revelers legally attended a Friday-Saturday gathering at Bramley-Moore Dock in Liverpool.
The lead scientist overseeing the two-night pilot gathering was Iain Buchan of the University of Liverpool. The First Dance, as it was called, was organized in partnership with Yousef‘s Circus event brand. The Liverpool native accompanied Sven Väth, The Blessed Madonna, Jayda G, Jaguar, Enzo Siragusa and others on the lineup.
All attendees were required to have a Liverpool address and take rapid tests before and after the event. Face masks, hand sanitizing, and social distancing were not required. The results of the follow-up tests will inform how lawmakers approach the return of live events in the coming months.
“The risk of encountering someone positive in there might be 1 in 5,000,” Buchan told The New York Times based on the 69 COVID-19 cases reported in Liverpool in the week leading up to the event.
Depending on the results, the trial gatherings could bolster confidence in a reopening timeline shared by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in February. If vaccination remains steady, nightlife could resume as soon as June 21st, according to the government’s step-by-step reopening process.
The event will have been one of 10-15 organized in Liverpool by the Events Research Programme. Others include cinemas, sporting events and the BRIT Awards.