The team behind Newcastle's This is Tomorrow Festival is launching a socially distanced outdoor venue.
Opening in August and remaining in situ until the end of the summer, the Virgin Money Unity Arena will be situated at Newcastle Racecourse, Gosforth Park and will offer people the chance to come together and enjoy live music while adhering to social distancing rules.
The brainchild of North East promoter, SSD Concerts, the arena will utilise a drive-in system, allowing people from the same household to arrive at the venue, park and enjoy the event from the comfort of their own personal viewing platform. All viewing areas will be placed at least two metres apart from one another, with food and drinks available for pre-order. A one-way system will allow for the safe and full use of toilet facilities.
SSD MD Steve Davis said: “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. We have been hosting loads of live sessions and DJ sets across our social media, supporting local artists and raising money for the NHS. Now, we’re taking it one step further as the UK slowly comes out of Lockdown.
“Working with our brand new partner Virgin Money has been exciting and we think even in these hard times the people of the north east will come out in their thousands to see the artists they love. “Further announcements will be coming in the coming weeks, but we’re excited to say we already have several high-profile artists signed up.”
SSD Concerts is working alongside production company Engine No. 4 on the venue. The arena will host a programme of events, from live music and DJ sets to family entertainment and comedy, with the line-up to be revealed on Tuesday, July 7.
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.
“This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans. We’re looking forward to partnering with The Unity Arena on this event near to our Virgin Money home in Gosforth.”