'VIP seats for everyone': Video of Britain's first socially distanced concert goes viral

The Virgin Money Unity Arena spaced 500 individual platforms of elevated seats six feet apart

True, it lacks the shoulder-to-shoulder intimacy of pre-coronavirus performances, but a concert at Great Britain's first venue designed for social distancing is getting rave reviews after a video of it went viral.

Turns out, people like packed houses less than a Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande performance might lead you to believe.

Especially when 2,500 fans gathered Tuesday to hear English rocker Sam Fender on 500 separate elevated platforms at the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Gosforth Park, Newcastle. Tickets for the show were $50 per person with a $26 booking surcharge.

"Oh no, everybody at the concert can see the stage and has a clear path to the bathroom and is pretty much in VIP," joked one Twitter user on Wednesday. "This is horrible!"

The spaces between each viewing area are about six feet apart and fit up to five people, all of whom must arrive together at the pop-up amphitheater.


Patrons were asked to wear masks and not intermingle with other sections. They were also not allowed to leave their designated seats unless going to the restrooms, which are found at the end of every row of platforms.

Guidance on the venue's website directs those in attendance to join a socially distanced line system to enter the area; they can use cell phones to pre-order food and drinks."My hatred for human contact with people I don’t know really, realllyyy approves of this," another wrote.

Upcoming shows -- hosted by SSD Concerts -- include artists like Two Door Cinema Club, The Libertines, Van Morrison, and Ronan Keating.

The United Kingdom approved outdoor concerts following stringent coronavirus-related guidelines in mid-July.

Although America has attempted to achieve a similar feat, health restrictions and mask mandates have frequently been met with resistance. Perhaps the best replica of Tuesday night's concert would be a drive-in Nelly show, while the worst would be last weekend's packed Smash Mouth concert in South Dakota.


According to recent data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the U.K. has about 315,581 confirmed COVID-19 cases and just shy of 46,800 deaths, the most of any nation in Europe.

In comparison, the U.S. is on track to break 5.2 million reported cases and now more than 166,000 deaths.

That said, the U.K.'s population of 67 million represents only a fraction of the 330 million people living in the U.S.