Coronavirus: Newcastle’s socially distanced gigs called off

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Fans in groups of up to five people watch Sam Fender at Gosforth Park

image copyrightPA Media

image captionFans have been given their own viewing platforms to prevent close contact with other gig-goers

A series of outdoor socially distanced gigs have been cancelled after tighter coronavirus restrictions were announced for the North East.

Jack Savoretti and Kaiser Chiefs were among the acts due to play at Newcastle’s Gosforth Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

A concert by Chase and Status will go ahead as planned on Thursday evening.

Almost two million people in the region will be

affected by the new guidelines which come after a rise in cases.

The measures, in place from midnight, ban mixing with other households and pubs will close early.

Brit Award-winner Sam Fender kicked off the run of shows at the pop-up Virgin Money Unity Arena last month, which saw groups of up to five fans given their own viewing platforms in an effort to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Van Morrison, The Libertines, Ronan Keating and comedian Jimmy Carr have all performed in the weeks since.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionAbout 2,500 tickets sold out in minutes when it was announced Sam Fender would perform

However, organisers SSD announced the final events, also including Bongo’s Bingo and Declan McKenna, “will sadly no longer go ahead”.

Steve Davis, from the company, said Newcastle had been “the leading light for the live music industry” amid its current struggles.

“It is extremely disappointing to have to cancel these final shows at the end of what has been an incredible six-week run of successfully socially distanced concerts.

“We have complied with all government guidance to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our audience, artists and crew throughout.

“Unfortunately, due to the rise of infection in the North East, we must comply with the council’s and the government’s latest advice.

“This should not take away from the fact that the people of the North East and from all over the world have embraced this pioneering run of shows.”

The live music business has been particularly badly hit in recent months with workers warning it faces a “crisis”.

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