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Adelaide’s Summer Sounds Festival to feature COVIDSafe pens to ensure fans’ social distancing

Adelaide’s Summer Sounds Festival to feature COVIDSafe pens to ensure fans’ social distancing
January 14, 2021

Adelaide's Summer Sounds Festival, which commenced last Friday, has created leaf covered pens to ensure social distancing between groups of fans.

With Bernard Fanning headlining and the program featuring artists including Lime Cordiale, Ruel, Ball Park Music, Mallrat and Ocean Alley also featuring on the line-up, the key innovation are the farming-style pen, described as pods, that split attendees into groups of between four and six people. The pods occupy a space of 10,000 metres².

With organisers having engaged in months of negotiations with SA Health, up to 2,000 music fans will attend each concert.

Event Director Daniel Michael said the idea was based on so-called 'pig pens' which were a feature of concerts held in the UK in the northern summer.

Michael told the ABC “heaps of people sent me photos of something that was happening in Newcastle in the UK and I thought we'd never do that, it'd cost too much, there's no way.

"Then we were like, actually, we can probably do it and make it work like this … we can make this happen.

"We've been working with SA Health for months now just to get it right, to make it COVIDSafe and to make it safe for people to dance and to drink."

Tickets are sold in groups of four or six, and then those people have to stay within their pod for the duration of the concert, apart from going to buy food or go the toilet.

Inside each pod, fans are allowed to eat, drink and dance with golf buggies delivering drinks.

Michael noted "there are no bars … drinks are delivered by golf buggy after being ordered on an app.”

People attending the concerts are given a 15-minute window to arrive to avoid queues developing, and are issued a wristband with their pod number, so every person at the event will be traceable.

The festival was originally set to start on 30th December, but was delayed until last weekend because of travel restrictions between NSW and South Australia that resulted as from Sydney's Christmas Coronavirus outbreaks.

Speaking about the changing schedule, Michael commented “we've had to reprogram the dates a couple of times because of clusters in various states but here we are and we're opening on Friday.

"All of us have taken a risk, all of us have got together and thought how can we get this industry going."

Headline act Bernard Fanning has been granted an SA Health exemption to travel from Byron Bay for the festival, as SA currently has a hard border closure with NSW.

Mr Michael said as part of the exemption, the former Powderfinger frontman would have to self-isolate when not performing in a venue that had no shared facilities or lifts, and would have to wear a mask except while performing.

Michael said he was excited to be putting on the new festival at a time when most others were being cancelled or scaled back, and suggests that the idea of pods would catch on, adding “people want to see music - they want to enjoy themselves - so we've just been looking at ways we can do it and be safe

"It's also heart-warming to see people who've had their careers crunched by the pandemic to be able to work again.

"I think it'll be a while before we see packed mosh pits, but I think we will start to see larger numbers of people in the pods."

Images: The Summer Sounds Festival’s pods (top and below, credit: Saigeprime) and the Festival program (middle, credit: Summer Sounds Festival.

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