As the UK continues down the roadmap to ease Covid-19 restrictions, more and more effort is being put into how major events and festivals will go ahead this summer. It is hoped that after June 21 there will be no restrictions on mass gatherings, but with this not 100% certain as yet, major event organisers are taking steps to plan for every eventuality. As part of this, UK events giant Festival Republic have unveiled plans to host a 10,000 capacity pilot festival, complete with camping, at some point in mid-June.
The news comes fresh off the back of various pilot events in the UK that formed part of the government’s Events Research Programme, which has seen crowds back at sporting event, a 5000 capacity event in Liverpool’s Sefton Park, and on the same weekend in the same city, two club events at Liverpool’s Bramley Moore Dock. While the event isn’t official yet, Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn has said he believes it is vital for planning the summer. While the original pilot events looked to test how events might restart post-June 21, this event will be more focussed on how to plan for possible outbreaks at an event itself. As opposed to a one-day show, a 3-4 festival with camping is a potential concern for such an eventuality, and Benn is keen to have everything in place and ready, not just to protect those attending, but also to solve the all important issue around Covid insurance.
Speaking at IQ Magazine’s “Recovery Sessions” event, Benn said
“the camping event, because it’s three or four days, will actually be about testing the protocol of how to deal with anyone that might have Covid at the event. It’s about testing the protocols around using Covid certification on the NHS [National Health Service] app, and it’s also around testing the protocols of what the SAGE [Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies] scientists here in the UK want, which is at-home testing for all attendees that don’t have the vaccination and that are not immune.”
While he says politicians are at present “a little more reticent” he does believe that the scientists guiding their approach will be highly keen to gather such data. Although 10,000 people is significantly below the capacity of many major festivals, it’s still “a number that they can adequately take data from and multiply”. Benn also stated his concern isn’t so much for transmission at an outdoor event, which is currently thought to be of relatively low risk, but rather public transport on the way to a venue or festival.
He also said “Remarkably, the UK government appears to have a coherent plan, and it seems like we’re going in a good direction” and that there should be news on Covid cancellation insurance by June 14.
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