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Newcastle’s Virgin Money Unity Arena closes early due to new localised lockdowns in the north east

By | Published on Friday 18 September 2020

Virgin Money Unity Arena

The socially-distanced outdoor concert venue that has been presenting shows in Newcastle since last month will wind up its operations early because of new localised COVID-19 lockdowns that have just been implemented in north east England.

The Virgin Money Unity Arena was set up in Newcastle’s Gosforth Park with each group of audience members given their own fenced-in box to ensure that the social distancing rules currently in place for live events in England could be adhered to. Once up and running the likes of Sam Fender, Two Door Cinema Club, The Libertines and Supergrass all played shows at the venue.

Jack Savoretti, Kaiser Chiefs and Declan McKenna were all set to also play the venue this weekend. However, yesterday the UK government announced a number of new localised lockdowns in the north east because of “concerning rates of COVID-19 infections” in the region. With COVID restrictions now heightened again in Newcastle, the Virgin Money Unity Arena can no longer host shows.

The venue’s organiser Steve Davis said yesterday: “It is extremely disappointing to have to cancel these final shows at the end of what has been an incredible six week run of successfully socially-distanced concerts. We’re honoured to have been able to provide a little happiness and joy to thousands of music and comedy fans throughout the region and the UK in what has been such a tough 2020 for everyone”.

“Unfortunately”, he went on, “due to the rise of infection in the north east, we must comply with the council’s and the government’s latest advice. This should not take away from the fact that the people of the north east and from all over the world have embraced this pioneering run of shows”.

There are now several localised COVID-19 lockdowns in place across England, with reports that the government might soon reinstate more strict rules across the whole country because of the recent surge in new cases of the virus.

Such moves will obviously result in the live music sector being majorly hit yet again, in particular those venues and promoters that have invested time and money into creating commercially viable events that comply with the most recent rules on social distancing.