Dutch look for a way to party during the pandemic

It’s a music festival much like any other. More than a thousand people are packed together, dancing to thumping beats and chugging beer. They aren’t keeping their distance, not wearing masks. It’s the way it used to be, before the pandemic.

The event took place on Saturday, in the small town of Biddinghuizen in the Netherlands — with government approval. The Back to Live festival was a trial run. Researchers want to find out if and how large-scale events can take place despite the pandemic.

In Biddinghuizen, revelers had their temperatures taken at the entrance to the festival grounds and had to show not just a ticket but also a negative PCR test result. They all got a sensor to wear around their necks tracking their movements, and then the fun could begin.

Once inside, many people fell joyfully into each others’ arms. Some erupted into cheers; others broke into song. The mood on this Saturday morning in mid-March was euphoric.

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