UK’s first socially distanced immersive concert launches in London Bridge

The UK’s first socially distanced immersive concert will offer a template for how the creative industries can return from “the brink of bankruptcy and ruin”, organisers have said.

Lockdown Town, created by One Night Records, spans five tunnels in London Bridge and will feature 300 different musicians across its 60-day run.

The show, which opens on October 2, will see audience members guided through a series of 15-minute performances from 1918 ragtime to 1950s rock and roll.

Camden Town singer-songwriter Simeon Hammond Dallas, Belfast’s Winnie Ama and soul artist Miss Baby Sol will all feature.

Designed by a team which builds stages at Glastonbury, some of the vaults will feature a giant train or hark back to the Second World War.

Speaking during a launch event on Wednesday, Tim Wilson, managing director of One Night Records, described the event as a “carousel of music”.

One Night Records
One Night Records

He told the PA news agency: “One Night Records is like the fictional record shop you always wanted to find on the corner of your street. It is an adventure in music.

“All of the Covid safety stuff has been built within the world so our intention is that audiences arrive and the temperature checks, the masks that we give to people, the social distancing in groups and the hand sanitiser are all part of the experience and almost invisible.”

The launch event featured a “funeral procession for music” down the Southbank and across the Millennium Bridge, in reference to the plight of the creative industries.

One Night Records
One Night Records

Addressing the issues facing the sector, Wilson said: “I really hope we can set the example for how the creative industry can come back from the brink of bankruptcy and ruin.

“You look around London and around the country and around the world, cultural institutions are about to fall apart and many of them already have. It’s a pretty desperate situation.

“It is a fraction of the desperation of the pandemic picture, but nonetheless it is a desperate citation, and I hope the model we have built here at One Night Records can stand as a model for everyone else.”

One Night Records
One Night Records

Lockdown Town’s director, Kerri McLean, said the event would “bolster” public confidence in the UK’s theatre.

McLean, who played strong-willed former slave Kitty Despard in Poldark, told PA: “Speaking to people, they are just so happy to be able to do what they love and do what they are skilled at, because it has been taken away.

“Hopefully this is a small supportive pillar to bolster the confidence of audiences to start going back to see shows.

“But also the creatives as well and the producers to go: ‘Things are difficult and they might not change for quite a long time but actually, how can we adapt what we do to make a model and framework and get this out there?’

“It feels golden at the moment. It feels like a golden opportunity.”

Lockdown Town by One Night Records runs from October to December 30.

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