Almost 4,000 people attended the event at the Bercy AccorHotels Arena on May 29th, wearing a mask but not social distancing, and the bar was also closed. The aim of the “SPRING” (Study on PRevention of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a large INdoor Gathering) event, led by the Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris, was to test whether it was safe to allow concerts without limiting audience numbers.
“In conclusion, participation in a concert was not associated with an increased risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 during a standing concert without social distancing, among masked people with a negative antigen test in a closed room,” the report said.
All participants were aged between 18 and 45, and had taken a negative antigen test in the three days leading up to the concert, while venue staff were also tested. Two thirds of the 6,000 participants attended the concert, with 2,000 staying home as part of the control group.
They each took a saliva test the day of the concert to see how many had Covid despite the negative antigen test, and then a second saliva test seven days later.
50 percent of participants had received at least one vaccine dose, but only 7 percent were fully vaccinated.
Among the 3,917 attendees, 8 tested positive following the concert, compared to 3 out of 1,947 in the control group. Of the 8, 5 were already positive the day of the concert, meaning they did not become infected during the event.
The incidence rate among the two groups was 0.2 percent and 0.15 percent respectively, which “corresponds to the estimated incidence rate in Île-de-France in the two weeks leading up to the concert,” according to the report.
Artificial intelligence evaluated compliance with mask-wearing rules to be at 91 percent over the course of the four-hour event.
The results will come as a relief to the government, which has allowed concerts with standing audiences to go ahead since June 30th. The French health pass is required for gigs with more than 1,000 people in the audience, meaning participants need proof of full vaccination, a recent negative test, or must have recovered from Covid.
But unlike with the test event, wearing a mask is not compulsory during large concerts.