It came three months later than originally scheduled, but the Brit Awards was no less glamorous as a large crowd descended on London’s O2 Arena for Britain’s top annual music awards night.
About 4000 people watched singers Dua Lipa and Arlo Parks triumph as well as perform at the awards, in the first major indoor music event with a live audience held in London in over a year.
Held in front of an audience that did not have to wear masks or socially distance, the event took place at the O2 arena on the River Thames on Tuesday (local time) as the country emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.
The ceremony, during which Billie Eilish and The Weeknd were also winners, is part of a British government program aimed at establishing whether big events can be held in closed environments without social distancing.
Little Mix made history, becoming the first female band to win British group. They dedicated their win to female trailblazers who preceded them, like the Spice Girls and Sugababes.
Harry Styles won British single for Watermelon Sugar.
The audience, of which 2500 were key workers with guests, were sat in rows, looking down on two stages – one for presenters and another for performers. Nominees sat at distanced tables.
“This evening we look forward to a brighter future,” host Jack Whitehall said. “We have an audience … we have pop stars, we are back.”
Ticketholders had to show proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the venue, which has a capacity of about 20,000. They will also need to take a test afterwards and provide contact details.
Like elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down music events with live audiences in Britain. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s phased roadmap out of lockdown, entertainment venues can reopen next week.
Lipa, who won two awards – female solo artist and album for Future Nostalgia, said she was dedicating her performance to key workers.
“I feel very grateful to be sharing this evening with them,” she told Reuters.
While some performances were live, including those of Lipa, breakthrough artist winner Parks and Olivia Rodrigo, others were pre-recorded.
American songstress Taylor Swift became the first female artist to be honoured with the Global Icon award.
“I’m really proud to be a part of this musical community especially in a year when we all needed music so much,” Swift, who travelled to London for the awards, said, also paying tribute to frontline workers.