NORTH EASTERN promoter SSD is launching the first non-drive-in outdoor concerts since lockdown, using Unity Arena, a new socially-distanced venue set up at Newcastle Racecourse at Gosforth Park.
Working with sponsor Virgin Money, SSD, which promotes festivals This is Tomorrow (cap. 15,000) and Bingley Weekender (5,000) is staging a series of eight 2,500-capacity events this summer with headliners Two Door Cinema Club, The Libertines, Supergrass and Maximo Park, plus comedian Bill Bailey.
“The auditorium is 500 viewing platforms, the rear ones with steps and handrails,” SSD’s Steve Davis tells LIVE UK “Concert-goers arrive by car with admission by number plate recognition. They park and queue 1.5 metres distance apart. They can pre-order drinks and food, either beforehand or via an app onsite.”
He says the drive-in option did not work with a PA and the council were happy with this design, installed by Engine No. 4, the production team behind Parklife (70,000).
Davis believes taking this first step into live performance after lockdown is “massively important. If it works, it opens up other cities for other promoters. Effectively, it’s a VIP experience for everyone in the crowd.
“Suppliers, artistes and agents have all been sensible with terms, and even if it’s not profitable, it will bring work back to people who rely on our business.”
Tickets range from £20 to £50.