Orchestral rap gig closed down after ‘complete lack of social distancing’

Attendees had been assured the event would operate under ‘strict Covid Government guidelines’.

Concertgoers at Isla Gladstone Conservatory in Stanley Park, Liverpool
Concertgoers at Isla Gladstone Conservatory in Stanley Park, Liverpool

A “complete lack of social distancing” led police to close down an orchestral performance of songs by US rapper and hip hop producer Dr Dre.

Merseyside Police said they were compelled to take action at Friday night’s organised gig in Stanley Park, Liverpool, as concertgoers mixed in close proximity and some even danced on tables.

The organisers of the approved event at the 19th century-built Isla Gladstone Conservatory were fined £10,000 for a breach of coronavirus regulations, said police.

Coronavirus – Sun Sep 27, 2020
Concertgoers at Isla Gladstone Conservatory in Stanley Park, Liverpool (Merseyside Police/PA)

The event was billed as “a combination of a traditional orchestra merging with a modern live hip-hop music event” in which 2001, the second album from Dr Dre, who found fame with controversial rap group NWA, would be performed.

Attendees at the ticketed event were assured it would operate under “strict Covid Government guidelines” but Merseyside Police were called to a report of concern at 8.40pm and stepped in.

The crowd of about 250 people was dispersed and licensing inquiries are under way, said police.

Concert closed down over 'complete lack of social distancing'
Crowd gathers at an outdoor orchestral performance of songs by US rapper and hip hop producer Dr Dre (Merseyside Police/PA)

Superintendent Chris Gibson, of Merseyside Police, said officers were confronted with a “complete lack of social distancing, with large groups mixing in close proximity”.

He said people were also dancing on tables and very few of those in attendance were sitting down – as regulations demand when food or drink is being served.

He went on: “Although this was an approved and organised event, police action was required when it became clear that current Covid restrictions were being breached, as well as the health and safety risk assessment at the premises.

“As we continue to emphasise, Merseyside and other areas of the North West remain at serious risk, and we cannot carry on as normal, mixing with large crowds. The health implications for this and other gatherings could be catastrophic for the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

Chief Constable Andy Cooke tweeted: “Unbelievable but true. We are in an area where the COVID rate is increasing and the vast majority are doing the right thing. Why do some still think it doesn’t apply to them?”

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