Since the Dutch government announced that they are hoping to allow festivals in the Netherlands starting July 1st, 1,300 people hit the dance floor in Amsterdam last Saturday as part of a trial event hosted at the legendary Ziggo Dome.
Image: Ziggo Dome
The arena’s standard capacity is 17,000, and nearly 180,000 people had applied for tickets. The lucky winners were offered a short respite from COVID-19 restrictions by serving as part of a series of tests by Fieldlab, an approach set up by the government and events industry. This experiment aims to investigate how large groups can gather safely with the virus still ongoing.
Everyone was asked to present a negative test 48h before the event and required to take another one five days after. Upon arrival, candidates were divided into six groups or “bubbles” of 250 people, plus one of 50, each of which had to comply with different rules. Additionally, all were equipped with tags monitoring how much contact they had with each other.
“ We hope this can lead to a tailor-made reopening of venues. Measures are now generic, allowing, for instance, a maximum of 100 guests at any event if coronavirus infections drop to a certain level. We hope for more specific measures, such as allowing the Ziggo Dome to open at half its capacity.” - Tim Boersma from Fieldlab
Some groups were told to wear a mask at all times, while others were meticulously placed by the organizers. One of the bubbles was given fluorescent drinks and encouraged to sing and shout to the music to analyze how much saliva was released.
‘It is so fantastic to be here with everyone,’ a participant said. ‘It all felt a little awkward at the beginning, but then everyone went wild".
This occasion was part of a series of government-backed research events that also included a business conference of 500 people, a football match involving 1,200 supporters, and a performance in front of a similar number of people. Pieter Lubberts, program manager at Fieldlabs, stated that the team still needs several weeks to analyze the results and discuss them with the Dutch authorities and government.
We hope this brings good news for the Netherlands! Additionally, festivals that have already confirmed and sold out their summer events will likely be compensated for their costs in case of last-minute cancellations.