How the Flaming Lips pulled off COVID-distancing space bubble shows


Originally planned for December, the “Space Bubble” concerts were postponed after COVID-19 cases began to rise in Oklahoma City. During the performances, the band brought out enormous balloons spelling out “F- You COVID-19.”

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Is the concept viable for other acts? Perhaps – if venues take the precautions the band implemented and if there is enough staff for bubble maintenance.

First, as Coyne told TMZ in November, you need a lot of open space around the main concert floor to make it easier to keep masked ticketholders distanced while they get into the bubbles, a process that takes about 45 minutes. The bubbles, Coyne said, hold enough oxygen for three people to breathe for approximately an hour and 10 minutes before they must be refilled or unzipped.

Inside the bubbles, as detailed in an instructional video on Coyne’s Instagram feed, are “high-frequency supplement speakers” for each concertgoer to wear around the neck like a backstage pass. This helps prevent muffling of the sound through the plastic, especially for those in the back of the venue.

The bubbles are also fitted with individual battery-operated fans, also worn around the neck, and commemorative bottles of water as well as a towel “to wipe down the condensation build-up on the inside of your space bubble.” Apparently, it can get steamy inside. Which is why each bubble also has a sign that says, “It’s hot in here.” “Show this to the attendant,” the video instructs, “and they will refresh your space bubble with new, cool air.”

On the other side of the sign is the message, “I have to pee.” This message will prompt the attendants to help you get in and out without disturbing fellow bubbled audience members.

At the end of the concert, audience members are told to roll their bubbles to the exit. A process that would seem to be as amusing for those certain-to-be overworked attendants as the show itself. “Once outside the venue,” says the instructional video, “you can unzip your space bubble and get out.”

Los Angeles Times

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