French union calls on Macron to approve Covid protocol for experimental concerts

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A French union has written to the president asking for permission to hold experimental concerts in Marseille and Paris, to give a boost to the flailing arts sector. They have been constantly postponed since February due to the Covid-19 health crisis despite the organisers saying they can adhere to strict health protocol.

"Mr President, we need your help." An entertainment union (Syndicat du spectacle musical et de variété - Prodiss) wrote an open letter to Emmanuel Macron on Monday 12 April, asking for the validation of an experimental concert.

The aim is to help the music sector, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis.

"We have been working for several weeks with the AP-HP (Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris) on an experiment: the Ambition Live Again project. But for this experimental concert to take place, the protocol must be validated," reads the Prodiss Twitter account, which published the letter.

Two projects have been launched in France: one in Marseille (at the Dôme concert hall, with the Inserm, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and Sma, a music union) and another one in Paris (at Bercy, with AP-HP and Prodiss), but they have been constantly postponed since the first proposed schedules (February and March, respectively).

In Paris, the French bandIndochine wants to participate in the experiment. "We want to do it, to help the whole profession, to show, like in Barcelona, Amsterdam, that going to a concert [with masks] is not risky," explained the band's leader Nicola Sirkis recently. "We are ready, we are waiting for the signal from the authorities".

In Marseille, the rap band IAM volunteered. "With masks, adapted gauges, a concert is no more contaminating than the metro, the train, the plane; we got on the TGV to Paris, it was a 'live' of very stressed people", Akhenaton, leader of the emblematic rap group, had recently explained.

Experimental concerts have already been held in Barcelona and Amsterdam where studies were conducted by Dutch Fieldlab Events during football matches but also music festivals. These studies could provide a template for people to attend sports and cultural events during the Covid-19 pandemic.