Virgin Money opens socially distanced outdoor music arena in Newcastle

Virgin Money: open-air arena will have capacity for 2,500 people
Virgin Money: open-air arena will have capacity for 2,500 people

Household groups can watch shows from own 'personal viewing platform'.

Virgin Money has partnered SSD Concerts to create a socially distanced live music arena in Newcastle.

The open-air venue, at Newcastle Racecourse, Gosforth Park, will open in August and provide events during a time when a number of festivals have been cancelled. It is currently scheduled to stay open through to the end of summer with a capacity for 2,500 people.

Ticketholders will be able to drive into the Virgin Money Unity Arena and be guided to their "personal viewing platform", where they will have a view of the stage. Each platform will be at least two metres from its neighbour, allowing household groups to remain distant from other ticktholders. Food and drinks will be available to pre-order. Toilets will be accessible via a one-way system.

SSD Concerts aims to provide a "full festival experience" and the line-up will be released in the coming weeks. Events will include live music, DJ sets, family entertainment and comedy.

Helen Page, group brand and marketing director at Virgin Money, said: "At Virgin Money, we are being as innovative as possible during these challenging times, and music is very much at the heart of our new brand direction. We are delighted to play a part in bringing back live music events as we start to emerge from lockdown."

Steve Davis, SSD Concerts managing director, added: "Since all of our scheduled concerts have been postponed to later in the year and all venues in the city closed, the staff at SSD had a willingness to continue.

"We can’t be without music during these times, so our only thought has been: how can we bring music back to the British public safely and responsibly?"

Production company Engine No 4 is delivering the project.

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