Elton John can play to a crowd of 45,000 in Stockholm next month after Covid events restrictions lifted

Elton John can play to a crowd of 45,000 in Stockholm next month after Covid events restrictions lifted
Elton John plays a New York concert before the pandemic. Photo: Greg Allen/Invision/AP-TT
A 45,000-person concert should be able to go ahead in October, after Stockholm authorities were putting pressure on the government to give a clear decision on events rules.

The Elton John gig is scheduled to take place on October 1st and 2nd at Tele2 Arena. The concert has already been postponed from mid-September due to the pandemic.

Currently, audiences are limited to 300 people for seated indoor events, and 3,000 for seated outdoor events (if the organiser can split it up into sections, the limit applies to each section).

The government confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that all limits on public and private events would be lifted from September 29th, in line with its five-step plan for lifting restrictions, which said this limit would be removed in September subject to the burden on healthcare, vaccination and infection rates. In other words, the concert can go ahead, along with other events whose planners have been eagerly awaiting updates.

Even before this confirmation, authorities in the capital have told concert organisers LiveNation to go ahead with their planning giving the lack of any other message from the government.

“Stockholm can’t sit around and wait for a passive government who does not give us information but postpones the restrictions every week. We have to step up and say it’s time to open up,” Stockholm mayor Anna König Jerlmyr told TT. She advised all event organisers to plan on the basis that restrictions would be lifted as planned.

Currently Sweden does not use any Covid pass or ‘green card’ to regulate this kind of activity, in contrast to many European countries. 

The Elton John gig is part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which began in 2018 but was postponed due to the pandemic. Two Germany dates previously scheduled for September have now been pushed back to spring 2023, along with a New Zealand show. The Stockholm concert is the next date scheduled, followed by nine performances across the UK and Ireland starting in October.

The only question is whether the singer-songwriter himself will be allowed into Sweden. As a British citizen, he is currently subject to the Swedish ban on entry from most non-EU/EEA countries, which applies to unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people alike. There are exemptions, including for essential work and urgent family reasons, and it is possible that Elton John will be covered by an exemption to the ban for “people travelling for the purpose of performing highly skilled work, if their contribution is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed remotely”. Or he could just travel via Denmark.


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