Five thousand very lucky people will be allowed to attend a ‘near normal’ music concert in Liverpool in just two weeks.

The pilot event at Sefton Park on May 2 will be without social distancing and attendees will not have to wear masks, ministers have confirmed.

But they will have to provide proof of a negative Covid test before gaining entry.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he hoped the test event meant the wait for gigs to return would not be ‘too much longer’.

Operating slightly below its capacity of 7,500, researchers on site will examine the movements and behaviour of the 5,000-strong crowd next month.

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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the audience will not be socially distanced or required to wear face coverings in the controlled setting of the test event, meaning gig-goers will be able to enjoy the experience without physical restraints.

Ticket-holders will be required to take a lateral flow test, which can produce a result within 30 minutes, at a local testing centre before entry, to trial the role such facilities could play in the return of large-scale events, officials said.

They will also be asked to take a test after the event, as ministers and scientists look to assess the safety of outdoor settings for masses of people not wearing face masks.

And they will have to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace to ensure everyone can be reached in the event of a positive test.

Mr Dowden said: ‘We’re one step closer to a summer of live events now our science-led programme is under way.

‘Testing different settings and looking at different mitigations is key to getting crowds back safely.

‘The Sefton Park pilot is an important addition to the programme … I hope it won’t be too much longer until gigs are back for good.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the results from the event would ‘inform our approach to ensuring future big events can take place safely’.

‘By trialling a range of measures to reduce transmission, we are able to gather vital evidence to inform our plans for allowing events in the future,’ he said.

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‘I am hugely grateful to scientists and clinicians working hard across the country so we can start to enjoy these events again safely.’

The event will be organised by music promoter Festival Republic in partnership with Culture Liverpool.

Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool, said: ‘We should all be proud of the fact we’re part of this brave endeavour which looks to get this vital sector back up and running and resilient once again.’

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