Blossoms singer Tom Ogden: The joy of headlining the UK's first post-lockdown gig

By Tracy Ollerenshaw & Steve Holden
BBC Newsbeat

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionBlossoms lead singer Tom Ogden "can't wait" to see the crowd at Sefton Park on Sunday

"I can't actually imagine it, all them people, no masks and being able to be next to each other. It's quite surreal to be honest."

Blossoms frontman Tom Ogden says "it's an honour" to be playing the first live concert in the UK since lockdown.

The Stockport band will perform to a crowd of 5,000 at an outdoor gig at Sefton Park in Liverpool later.

It's part of a government pilot event and ticket-holders have to provide a negative Covid test to get in.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSunday's gig could lead to more concerts with crowds like this

After a year of no gigs that's felt like "an eternity", Tom, 28, says he "can't wait" for Sunday's performance.

But is the band a bit rusty after all this time off?

"First few rehearsals we thought: 'We need to do this a few more times'," says Tom, as he mimes playing his guitar.

"But it's like riding a bike, it comes back very quickly."

And to make sure they're on top form they've been rehearsing every day: "It's been nice to have something to look forward to!"

Anyone attending the gig will have to take a lateral flow test and prove they are negative.

After that, they won't have to socially distance or wear face coverings.

Tom says Sunday's set list will include a surprise cover song, which was inspired by a video the band put together while stuck at home during lockdown.

He says the rest of the set list "kind of wrote itself".

"We were in the middle of a tour when the pandemic hit - it felt like unfinished business so a lot of people haven't heard the songs,," he adds.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionJosh and Tom performing at the band's album launch in February 2020

Tom says Blossoms, like so many other artists, need live music to return.

"The effects have been so damaging. We couldn't do another year with no gigs - that's your main source of earning a living."

Back on the stage in front of a "normal" crowd for the first time in more than a year, Tom hopes people will "lap it up".

"We've had hints of normality, having a beer with someone, but who knows, people might want to stand at the back, but I reckon it will go quickly back to the way it was."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionBlossoms picked up the Best Indie Award at the The Global Awards just before lockdown in March 2020

Scientists will be monitoring the gig on Sunday, and everyone who attends will be asked to take a voluntary PCR test afterwards. That's the one that gets sent to a lab.

The concert is part of the government's Event Research Programme, which is running a series of pilots to test safety at mass gatherings.

"I think there'll be a lot of eyes on the feedback," adds Tom.

"But you'd think with our vaccine programme we're in good shape to do something like this. I'm quite confident it's going to be a success."

He also likes the idea of going down in history: "I hope the next generation of teenagers and kids are like, 'what you couldn't go out or do anything and this was the first gig?' It's a story to tell and we've all lived through it."

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