Over 2,200 People Catch COVID After Going to Music Festivals

A total of 2,279 people who attended three music festivals in Catalonia last month ended up testing positive for COVID.

Tens of thousands of people turned up to the Vida, Canet Rock and Cruïlla festivals at the beginning of July and were required to take antigen tests in order to attend.

Once inside, there were no social distancing measures in place but attendees did have to wear a mask.

The festivals had been set up based on pilot tests, but positive cases ended up exceeding what researchers had expected.

After the festivals concluded the Catalonian government launched an investigation to see how many of the nearly 50,000 festival attendees had caught COVID in the following 15 days.

According to the Spanish-language El País newspaper, which has seen results of the study, 466 participants from Vida tested positive, as did 956 for Canet Rock and 857 from Cruïlla.

The final total represents 58 percent more infections than had been expected and 76 percent more than were measured in a control group, El País added.

The festivals took place at a time when COVID cases in the region were already on the rise.

In a press release regarding the results of the Department of Health's study into the festivals, the Catalonian government said it hoped the research "provides valuable information when it comes to improving protocols and security measures for crowded activities and festivals for the future."

The government added: "As explained by the Secretary of Public Health, Carmen Cabezas, at a time of opening of the summer, and in a context of 8,000 cases a day, the festivals were just one more factor among all those that occurred in that moment."

Catalonia, an autonomous region of Spain, is currently experiencing what has been described as a fifth wave of infections that is expanding through the country.

In an interview with El País on July 28, Catalan Health Minister Josep Maria Argimon, said the wave has "very different characteristics from the previous ones" and is predominantly affecting young people and those with greater economic capacity.

As of Wednesday morning EDT Spain had reported 264,575 new cases of coronavirus over the previous 14 days.

Meanwhile, this past weekend saw around 385,000 people attend the Lollapalooza music festival held in Chicago, according to a police news conference cited by Block Club Chicago.

First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter called it "one of the safest Lollapaloozas we've put on in recent years." Tina Tan, a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told The Guardian newspaper, "You are going to get some transmission of COVID-19 Delta variant" when that many people are together without social distancing or masks.

Photos of the event show large and maskless crowds gathering to enjoy performances. Lollapalooza tweeted afterwards that 90 percent of attendees were vaccinated.

Cruïlla festival
A photo shows a masked crowd watching a performance at the Cruïlla festival in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, on July 9 2021. Cruïlla was one of three festivals held in the region around that time. Jordi Vidal/Redferns / Getty