Ottawa is going to try concerts with rapid COVID-19 testing. Maybe.

When was the last you physically transported yourself through space and time so you could witness a live gig? It’ll be a while yet, but at least vaccines are being administered, so it’s possible that we’ll see some sort of normalcy later in the year.

Meanwhile, though, the organizers of a concert in Ottawa are pinning their hopes on a rapid COVID-19 test.

The Long Road Back, backed by The Ontario Festival Touring Taskforce and the National Arts Centre, is a concert set for Ottawa’s Landsdowne Park on March 27. It won’t be a big thing–attendance will be capped at 100 people–but it’s a proof-of-concept experiment that could open up concerts for the spring and summer.

Some specifics:

  • Before anyone can attend, they have to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen screening at a few Shopper’s Drug Mart locations within 48 hours of the show.
  • Everyone will have to wear masks and maintain physical distance. Again, the experiment is about the efficacy and practicality of rapid testing for the purpose of concerts and other live events.
  • Everyone has been advised that no test is 100% accurate
  • It’s already sold out. It took just three hours.
  • Performing will be The Commotions, a local R&B/soul group.
  • However, the event may be canceled if the province moves Ottawa back into the red zone. Damn variants, you know?

Further details here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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