- O2 arena to host live music test event eight months after closure
- Enhanced safety and hygiene measures in place for 4700 capacity socially distance gig
- More than 1000 staff and freelancers employed to stage event
The O2 arena has announced it will host its first live music event for more than eight months, with British band Squeeze set to play to socially distanced fans on Saturday 5th December 2020. The arena event is a major step forward in getting the live event industry back up and running after all venues were closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The socially distanced event will see the venue’s capacity reduced from 20,000 to 4700, with tickets being sold in groups of twos, threes and fours only and a seating configuration which is in line with the UK government’s one metre plus guidelines. Seats will remain empty between each group and one-way routes have been installed throughout the arena and concourse.
To ensure the customer experience is contactless, all ticketing will use AXS Mobile ID via The O2 venue app, which also enables pre-ordering of food and drink as well as merchandise to reduce queuing with fast collection lanes.
Visitors will only be allowed to bring a single clear bag into the arena and the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory, except when eating and drinking within the seats. The show will end by 10pm to allow fans to leave the site safely at a distance.
The O2 has purchased electrostatic foggers to deliver a charged anti-bacterial spray across the venue that will envelope all surfaces, providing protection for up to 30 days, with a heightened cleaning regime before, during and after the event.
Steve Sayer, The O2 GM and VP said: “We have been working incredibly hard to bring back events at The O2 and put measures in place to ensure our fans will have a safe and COVID-19 secure experience. At the moment, we’re only able to host under a quarter of our capacity in the arena, so this is not a long term solution for us or other venues and we continue to press the government for targeted support and guidance to get the live events industry and its supply chain back on its feet.”
“The O2 was designed to give artists and fans the best live music in the world and we look forward to doing that again with Squeeze. As The O2 returns to live, it’s really fitting that a band from the local area are the ones to reopen our doors to the public once again. The whole team are excited to see them on our stage for the first time.”
Squeeze, who hail from South East London and have performed at The O2’s smaller venue, indigo at The O2 multiple times, were keen to be part of The O2’s re-opening.
Glenn Tilbrook said “I am so thrilled to be playing The O2 with Squeeze and to be able to chalk up another first for us on this hallowed ground, previously the site of a gasworks, whose social club featured a double bill of Chris Difford and myself with Bucks Fizz’s Cheryl Baker. That was a long time ago. We are putting a lot of time and energy into this show to make it one not to forget. See you there! Love, Glenn.”
Steve Homer, AEG Presents CEO added: “We are excited to be promoting a live music show again after what seems like an eternity! Squeeze, hailing originally from Greenwich, are a perfect artist to kick things back off again at The O2 and we are delighted they are supporting such an important step of getting back to live music.”
O2 customers can get Priority Tickets 48 hours before general release from 10am Wednesday 7th October 2020 through the Priority app. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on Friday 9th October 2020 from www.theo2.co.uk.
For six weeks during the pandemic, the NHS transformed The O2 arena into a training facility for those going on to work at the NHS Nightingale Hospital at ExCel London. The facility closed on Friday 22nd May.
Most recently, fans were invited back for arena Backstage Tours, a ticketed experience which ended on 27th September.