Festivals have potential to be 'as safe as Sainsbury's' with measures in place

Festivals have the potential to be as safe as a trip to the supermarket if the correct measures are put into place, MPs have been told. 

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many festivals such as Glastonbury and Coachella have been cancelled for the second year running in order to help curb the spread of Covid-19. 

However, MPs have been told that smaller-scale shows and festivals may still be able to run safely providing precautions are adhered to.

Rowan Cannon, director of festival organisers Wild Rumpus, told the House of Commons Culture Select Committee: ‘The idea that the festivals can’t go ahead and be socially-distanced is inaccurate.”

She urged the committee, which is examining the live music sector, that festivals should be judged on a case by case basis, claiming the two festivals she organises – Just So in Cheshire and Timber in South Derbyshire – could easily protect their audiences amid the pandemic.

Cannon explained: ‘They’re both a capacity of around 5,000. They both have vast sites of about 100 acres. 

‘We can absolutely adapt our programming, put infrastructure in place, [and] change the way that we do things, to enable something to happen with social distancing in place.’

The past year has seen many artists and events attempt to adapt to make their shows Covid-safe, with socially distanced pens trialled at outdoor gigs and the Flaming Lips performing to a crowd in individual inflatable bubbles. 

While there is potential for some festivals to adapt to ensure the safety of their patrons, Matthew Phillip, the organiser of Notting Hill Carnival admitted that it would be very difficult to implement social distancing there. 

He explained: ‘It would be very difficult to hold Carnival in its traditional format on the streets with social distancing in place. It would be devastating for a second year in a row.’

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