This is what Preston's first 'Covid-secure' gig at Riva Showbar looked like

Preston's first gig under lockdown has been hailed a success after Riva Showbar put on a socially distanced but rip-roaring night of punk rock.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 3:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 3:32 pm
The free gig at Riva Showbar in Tithebarn Street, Preston is believed to be the first live music event in the city since the coronavirus crisis shut venues down in April.

Lancashire's very own Sex Pistols tribute act, Pistol Whipped, headlined the high-energy gig on Saturday (October 10) in front of 75 fans.

The free gig at Riva Showbar in Tithebarn Street is believed to be the city's first since lockdown shut down Preston's live music scene in April.

The gig had been postponed twice due to COVID-19 and lockdown, but was finally able to go ahead at the weekend after Preston City Council said they were satisfied that all precautions had been taken to keep people safe.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 800 capacity venue was reduced significantly to allow just 75 people inside, providing plenty of space for social distancing

Event promoter and DJ David Billington has hailed the event a success, saying the gig is an example of how live events can safely return with the proper care and organisation.

David said: "The council environment health came to see us beforehand and were very happy with the procedures we had in place.

"Tickets were free but you had to register via our website for track and trace and to keep an eye on numbers attending.

"Normally a table holds ten people, but we reduced this to just 4 people, unless they were from the same household.

Attendees were handed neon yellow cards to catch the attention of bar staff who provided them with table service to prevent people walking around the venue

"As you can see from the pictures, all the people were spaced out to meet social distancing requirements.

"Masks were worn when people were not seated and there was no dancing, even though I knew people were itching to do the pogo dance that punks do!

"We also had a nice health and safety talk at the beginning, and at the end of the night we staggered people leaving the venue, with different groups leaving within a gap of 15 minutes of each other.

"I am very proud of the audience for staying within the rules and using common sense. It was a free gig, but sometimes it’s not about the money, it’s about helping people.

Staff at Riva Showbar provided table-service to 75 music fans who remained seated throughout the gig

"It was that successful that we are currently arranging another date with the band, so more people can again experience live music safely in Preston."

Pictures courtesy of David Billington.

Guests enjoy table service from the bar staff
The event has proven so popular that promoter David Billington has plans for a second night of punk and ska music at Riva Showbar in Tithebarn Street
The event has received positive feedback from those who attended, with organisers praised for transforming the venue into a COVID safe environment
Andy Mayo - Lancashire's very own Johnny Rotten - and his Sex Pistols tribute band Pistol Whipped had punk fans rocking in their seats, but pogo dancing was strictly forbidden
The event was table-service only and staff serving customers all wore face masks
Chorley's own Pistol Whipped summoned the spirit of 70s punk with a rip-roaring set of Sex Pistols covers
This is how Riva Showbar looked before the gig, with event organiser David Billington ensuring all tables were set out for social distancing
The free gig took place at Riva Showbar, next to the Guild Hall, in Tithebarn Street, Preston on Saturday, October 10