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The 2021 BRIT Awards ceremony at London’s The O2 arena (pictured) on 11 May is the latest event to play a role in the Government’s Events Research Programme, which includes a 5,000-capacity outdoor concert organised by Festival Republic.

The ceremony will see an audience of 4,000 people attend the 20,000-capacity arena to witness live performances from acts including Dua Lipa, Headie One and Arlo Parks.

Some 2.500 of the tickets to the event will be given free to frontline workers. Event organiser, record label trade body, the BPI will invite workers to apply for a pair of free tickets via a ballot on, which goes live at midday on 22 April.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said audience members will not be socially distanced or required to wear face coverings once seated in the arena, however they will be required to follow existing Government guidance when travelling to the venue and adhere to rules set out by the event organisers.

All attendees must have proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the venue. As part of the wider scientific research on the trial events, attendees will also be asked to take a test after the event to gather further evidence on the safety of indoor settings, reduced social distancing and the removal of non-pharmaceutical interventions like face coverings.

They will also have to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace to ensure everyone can be traced in the event of an audience member receiving a positive test after the event.

BPI & BRIT Awards CEO Geoff Taylor said, “There could be no better way to celebrate music’s biggest night than with an audience present for the first live performances at The O2 in over a year. Most importantly, this is also a key moment in the return of live music, which we all want to see back at scale as quickly as possible.

“We will be working closely with the Government, The O2 and all our partners to finalise details and ensure all safety measures and guidelines are adhered to.”

The programme of pilots will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and testing protocols could ease opening and maximise participation.

A recent Government update on the ERP said the findings will be reported to the prime minister to feed into wider discussions around Step 4 of the lockdown restrictions, which suggests results and required mitigation measures will not be known until on or near 21 June.

However, while speaking at a session of the DCMS Committee’s The Future of UK Music Festivals inquiry culture minister Caroline Dinenage said the results of the ERP pilot events for the festival sector would be published in May.