Five thousand people packed into Paris’s Accor Arena with no social distancing on Saturday night for Ambition Live Again – the long-awaited pilot event with which the French live industry hopes to persuade the government to allow it to reopen as soon as possible.
Headlined by popular French pop-rock band Indochine, the concert, organised by industry association Prodiss and the AP-HP (Assistance publique-Hopitaux de Paris), forms part of a clinical trial which aims to demonstrate – as in Germany, Spain and, most recently, the Netherlands – that live events can be held safely during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Contrary to earlier announcements that the show would admit people with Covid-19, all 5,000 attendees had to test negative twice before entry – once via an antigen test performed in the previous three days, and then again with a rapid test on the day of the show (29 May). Like the Barcelona pilot but unlike the UK’s Events Research Programme, all concertgoers were also required to wear masks inside the arena.
Fans are also requested to provide a PCR test seven days after the show (5 June).
“Do not forget to return your saliva sample this Saturday, 5 June,” Prodiss urged attendees on social media. “The research team needs it! We are counting on you!”
Pour que nous puissions, ensemble, ouvrir une nouvelle page pour le spectacle vivant. Une dernière mobilisation de votre part est nécessaire ce samedi 5 juin : n’oubliez pas de renvoyer vos prélèvements salivaires. Les équipes de recherche en ont besoin !
On compte sur vous ! ? pic.twitter.com/AERrKCH9md
— PRODISS (@prodiss) May 31, 2021
Due to the 9pm curfew still in place in France, the concert took earlier than planned, with Indochine on stage by 6pm, according to the AFP. Etienne de Crécy played a DJ set at 5pm.
As of 28 May, just 37% of the French population had received one Covid-19 vaccine. As a result, vaccination status was not taken into account “in this experiment because most young people are not vaccinated in France yet. In fact, we specifically selected participants between 18 and 45 years old who mostly aren’t vaccinated,” AP-HP’s Jean-Marc Treluyer tells ABC News.
Results from the Ambition Live Again study – which will compare infection rates among those in the arena with a 2,500-person control group not selected to attend the show – are expected in June.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.