Music venues "are not places of infection" according to recent study

A second study measuring indoor aerosol transmission concluded that the risk of infecting someone "can be almost ruled out”.
Posted: 15 January 2021 Words: Tom Curtis-Horsfall

Some positive news in the struggle to restart live music: a second study into the risk of aerosol transmission in indoor environments concludes that "concert halls and theatres are not places of infection".

Led by the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and backed by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, the study simulated human breathing using a high-tech dummy to analyse the movement of airborne particles and took place over three days, as reported on IQ Magazine

According to Dr Raphael von Hoensbroech, director of Dortmund's 1500-capacity Konzerthaus venue said "the past few months have shown that politics needs a scientifically sound basis for decision-making. With our study, we want to ensure that concert halls and theatres may again admit sufficient audiences when they reopen.”

Granted that this study only provides results specific to Konzerthaus (pictured below), but scientists behind the study suggested that these results can be applied to venues of a similar capacity, as long as attendance is reduced, the audience continue to wear face masks, and there's sufficient fresh-air flow. The results from this recent study affirm the set of results gathered from a similar study that also took place in Germany last summer, the first of its kind. 

A major downside, however, is that not all grassroots venues possess this sort of capacity, nor the fresh-air circulation deemed necessary to minimise transmission. 

London's iconic venue The 100 Club are trialling a new ventilation system later this month: the Pathogen Reduction System being piloted is designed to filter airflow indoors, which supposedly eradicates 99.99% of dangerous airborne pathogens. 

Jeff Horton, owner of The 100 Club said in a recent press release announcing the trial that "the 100 Club has always attempted to be a leader in bringing new music to the forefront and this is an opportunity to be leading the way in getting grassroots music venues and the entire hospitality industry open again after the dire consequences of Covid-19. We also see this as an opportunity to future proof the venue should the world be brought to its knees again at some point down the road by another pandemic.”

If the trials are positive, it could be a real game-changer in helping to restart the UK's live music scene and helping venues to reach pre-pandemic capacity for gigs, without the need for human-sized bubbles as pioneered by Flaming Lips at their recent socially distanced gigs. Sorry, Wayne Coyne.

More from buzz