Two UK festival directors have called on the government to tell fans and artists that getting vaccinated is a requirement to attend music festivals this summer.
Josh Robinson, events director of drum ‘n’ bass festival Hospitality Weekend in the Woods, said: “A lot of us want to urge government to follow the example set up already in other areas, like travel, where people will have to show proof of vaccination or of a recent test.”
In a recent Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated rapid testing could be used to allow events to safely take place.
Read this next: Will rapid testing really save UK nightlife?
Gareth Williams, director of folk festival Cropredy, said: “What we really need is for government to say everybody needs a vaccination to get in. We need that clarity, rather than each having to go to people and explain.”
A recent report indicated that all willing adults in the UK could be vaccinated by June.
Festivals across the country have been rapidly selling out since the government unveiled its plan for clubs to reopen and festivals to be able to take place from June 21. However there has been some concern about a lack of cancellation insurance offered by the government, with organisers wary of moving forward with plans without financial cover.
Hospitality Weekend in the Woods sold 16,000 tickets in five hours for its debut edition. Robinson said: “The demand is pretty unbelievable. It would normally have taken eight or nine months to sell that many. The roadmap has given fans the impetus to start buying, which is great, but we are operating like a bank or something, in a strange scenario where we are just holding people’s money in case we have to return it.”
Read this next: Will music festivals actually happen this year?
As well as the potential of lockdown restrictions being extended and cancellation being enforced, the health and safety procedures are causing a headache for organisers who want clear directions outlined by the government in order to confirm plans.
Last week, former Stone Roses frontman and COVID sceptic Ian Brown pulled out of a festival headline performance after claiming that the event requires vaccination as a condition of entry.
Robinson says: “What we should say to artists now is another morally tricky conundrum. But if we don’t go ahead soon, the whole support structure for this industry could crumble for good.”
Williams says: “Festival organisers are masters of contingency planning, but there are just so many factors to keep track of this year.”