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The Brit Awards will welcome a 4,000-strong live audience for the ceremony next month


by Sarah Finnan
23rd Apr 2021

Brits

The Brit Awards will take place at the O2 Arena over in London next month, making it the first major indoor live music event to take place in over a year.

The UK’s biggest music awards ceremony, organisers have revealed that the Brit Awards will be permitted to welcome a live audience this year – with 4,000 guests set to attend the star-studded event on May 11. 

Part of a government-led Event Research Programme investigating the feasibility of mass gatherings and how society can make a safe return to such events, audience members will not be required to social distance or wear face coverings/masks while at the event – though they will have to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to attending and will be asked to take another test after the event for research purposes.

Attending an actual in-person event, something that was once taken as a guarantee, is now almost too good to be true and, to be honest, even the thought of being around so many people makes me feel a little bit nervous. Though I’m definitely looking forward to some semblance of normality returning, I think that it will be very difficult to shake the effects that the past few months have had on us and it will take some time for us to feel totally at ease in the presence of so many strangers.

Giving the impression that there is very much a “let’s see how this pans out” type of approach in place, attendees seem to double as guinea pigs in this experiment. Willingly participating in the programme, that’s not to say that ticket-holders don’t know the risk they’re taking in going to the event and a detailed post on the Brits’ website explains exactly what the programme is and why it’s being run. 

“The Events Research Programme will use pilot events incorporating research studies in April and May 2021 to build evidence on the risks associated with coronavirus transmission, the characteristics of events and surrounding activities, and the extent to which mitigation measures can effectively address these risks.

“The evidence from these studies will be used to inform the government’s decision around Step 4 of the roadmap and will shape government policy to bring about the phased return of fuller audiences to venues and events up and down England.”

Examining a range of different factors, pilot events will take things such as setting (looking at both indoor and outdoor events), venue size, seating arrangement (sitting vs standing), audience participation, transport to and from events, duration and ventilation into account. 

More than half of the tickets will be made freely available to essential workers in the Greater London area, with those being allocated by way of an online ballot system. Comedian Jack Whitehall will host this year’s show, with performances from artists such as Dua Lipa, Arlo Parks and Headie One amongst those to look forward to. 

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, The Guardian quotes culture secretary Oliver Dowden as saying that the event would be “particularly special in 2021”. 

“They will reunite live audiences with the best of British talent for the first time in a year, while providing a vital opportunity to see how we can get large crowds back safely as soon as possible. 

“Music connected us when we were separated by this pandemic, and now it’s going to help bring us back together again.”

Irish viewers can tune in to watch the ceremony on ITV or catch up on-demand on the ITV Hub.