Five thousand music fans packed into the first live gig without social distancing for over a year, as part of research into reopening large events with chart-topping indie band Blossoms headlined the sold-out concert in a big top in Liverpool's Sefton Park.

Everyone had to have a negative Covid test, with the research helping determine how this summer's festival season can go ahead.

Singer Tom Ogden said beforehand: "We're really excited just to play live.” Drummer Joe Donovan added: “Especially if we can get our industry back open.

“It's been closed for so long with very little support, if any support, so it will be nice to get back and kickstart it again. Get it back on track."

The Stockport five-piece were supported by rising Wigan band The Lathums. Asked how excited he was, frontman Alex Moore told the programme: "I don't think you can put it into words to be honest.

"We've all been cooped up for a year. It's what we were meant to do, this is what we've been working for four years. It's just an amazing feeling."

It was the first concert since last March where fans can stand shoulder-to-shoulder - not to mention sit on someone else's shoulders, crowdsurf or jump into a moshpit. All members of the audience had to fill in a health questionnaire and take lateral flow tests at one of four centres in the city on Saturday. They were able to put their face masks away once inside the venue.

All attendees were also given two PCR tests to take at home. Organisers say that is optional but crucial in providing the vital data that is needed by the scientists.

As well as studying any spread of the virus following the event, researchers will examine factors like audience movement and interaction, ventilation, duration, catering and alcohol consumption. The six-hour gig was put on by Reading and Leeds festival promoters Festival Republic, whose managing director Melvin Benn said he persuaded the government to add it to the line-up of official pilot events.

"This wasn't originally in the Events Research Programme, and if I'm honest I sort of forced them to do it because I didn't think they would get enough data for festivals without it," he  said. "And then they very much agreed."