Arena Resilience Alliance publishes results from European pilot events

As the live events industry prepares to return to hosting events, many venues across Europe have been staging test events in close collaboration with regional health authorities and national government guidance. The Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA) has shared the experience and insights gathered from more than 20 events hosted at 12 of its partner arenas in a report entitled “Working Our Way Back: Europe Live Test Events”.

Events within the Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA)’s remit have varied from small, 100-capacity affairs to much larger scale shows, such as the Eurovision Song Contest with up to 3,500 attendees, and the concerts in Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona and AccorHotels Arena, Paris with up to 5,000 attendees, and have covered a range of adapted safety measures and access protocols.

The report aims to share the experiences and insights gathered from more than 20 events hosted at 12 of ARA’s partner arenas across Europe, and to provide a framework for the return to live events in Europe.

In a joint statement, Olivier Toth, ARA Co-Founder, EAA member and CEO, Rockhal Luxembourg, and Robert Fitzpatrick, ARA Co-Founder, EAA member and CEO, The Odyssey Trust, Belfast, said:

We are pleased to present this report as further evidence of the Arena Resilience Alliance’s commitment to the live event industry and the work we have been doing during the Covid-19 crisis.

Our arenas are the hub for the live events ecosystem providing the physical space for communities to come together to enjoy themselves at a wide range of cultural and sporting events. In many cases, over the past months we have further demonstrated our agility by turning ourselves into locations for large-scale medically conditioned tests that will measure the feasibility and act as a catalyst for the return of fan-attended events.

ARA’s aim is help get live events back and for that reason we have collated and analysed the results from a series of indoor test events that have taken place across Europe in close collaboration with local health authorities in order to help provide a framework for the return of fan-attended events.

These test events have taken place in addition to a number of ARA-led activities, including hosting two high-level webinars and presenting a manifesto on safe reopening, designed to align with EU objectives starting with the protection of the mental health and well-being of our communities as outlined in the recently published EU Guidelines for the safe resumption of activities in the cultural and creative sectors.

Based on the evidence available to date, we are confident these results demonstrate that with the correct adoption of safety protocols, such as testing and the presentation of a vaccination passport, large-capacity venues are able to host safe and secure live events that will allow European citizens to meet, relax, socialise and enjoy themselves once more.

We will continue our industry-specific dialogue with scientific experts, particularly at a local and regional level, to make sure that all relevant findings are communicated and integrated into broader National and pan-European conversations.

We would like to give our thanks to the European Arenas Association and all our supporting arenas and associations. We would also like to thank the EU governing bodies; the Commission, Parliament, Council and the individual MEPs and the regional and local health authorities who have given their full support and worked closely with us to help our industry return to work. We look forward to welcoming our communities back into our venues and to continuing our efforts to build safe and sustainable environments for the future.

Watch the webinars here.

Robert Fitzpatrick, CEO, The Odyssey Trust – owners of The SSE Arena, Belfast – an EAA Member and co-founder of ARA, is one of some 50+ industry expert speakers that will be sharing insights at this September’s ALSD International conference and exhibition being held at Anfield, 6-7th. Secure your place online today…

Partner arenas

ARA partner arenas that have hosted test events and experimental studies include AccorHotels Arena, Ahoy Arena, Avia Solutions Group Arena, Barclaycard Arena Hamburg, Mercedes-Benz Arena Berlin and Palau Sant Jordi Barcelona.

Quarterback Immobilien Arena Leipzig, Rockhal Luxembourg (2 venues), Saku Suurhall Tallinn, The O2 London and Ziggo Dome Amsterdam are also affiliated with the ARA, and have hosted experiments.

According to the ARA’s analysis, the total amount of visitors admitted at each event varied from under 5% of normal maximum capacity to over 30%.

The highest capacity events were held at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris which sold 5,000 tickets representing 33% of total capacity and the Palau San Jordi in Barcelona which also hosted 5,000 people, which represented 28% of capacity.

Test results

The report emphasises that, at the time of publication, there were:

No recorded clusters of infection from those who attended the test events and there is no published evidence that these events contributed to the spread of the virus.

And concluded:

From the evidence available to date, it appears that with the correct implementation of safety measures, in particular pre-event Covid testing and the use of the EU Digital Certificate, it is possible to host safe indoor live events.

John Langford, President, European Arenas Association, said:

Arenas sit at the hub of the live events ecosystem playing a vital role in bringing together all the major stakeholders and playing a crucial role in communities across Europe. Over the past year, ARA has been promoting important dialogue around why we need unified conditions that will allow music, culture and sports to return to arenas and enable arenas to reopen.

Olivier Toth, CEO, Rockhal, EAA Board Member and co-founder of ARA, said:

After almost a year and a half without live events, experiments like our Because Music Matters showcase and other test events that have been taking place across Europe, are an important and positive step forward in testing the safety measures we can employ to support our back to business strategies. Building confidence amongst all our stakeholders that live events are a safe environment is so important. We were pleased to share these findings, with a view to building towards a model that can be scaled as the industry continues to work towards the safe and sustainable return of live events.

Robert Fitzpatrick, CEO, The Odyssey Trust – owners of The SSE Arena, Belfast – an EAA Member and co-founder of ARA, said:

As the advocacy platform for European arenas, the ARA has developed a manifesto, which will be an important tool as we prepare for a return to live events, whilst working to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities and the sustainability of our industry. This report publishing the findings of the recent test events provides a further tool to help industry and key EU decision makers come together and discuss the regional and national frameworks that will help us get back to business.

About the Arena Resilience Alliance

The Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA) is a special purpose vehicle created by the European Arenas Association to raise awareness on the current difficulties of large capacity venues and the impact their closures are having on the health and wellbeing of communities across Europe.

Since the onset of its activities launched in July 2020, ARA has advocated for a pan-European approach to reopening measures and a strategy for long-term protection and future resilience and has engaged in structured dialogue with the European Commission and members of the European Parliament throughout the pandemic.

ARA is fully supported by the members of the European Arenas Association together with other large-capacity multi-event venues, Euroleague Basketball and the European Hockey Clubs Alliance.

Source & imagery, courtesy: EAA

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