Could small festivals still go ahead this summer?

UK MPs have been told that small festivals could take place this summer provided organisers implement the appropriate safety measures.

Speaking to the Culture Select Committee in the House of Commons, Wild Rumpus festival organiser, Rowan Cannon said that with social-distancing and other appropriate safety measures, he feels a small festival should be “as safe as Sainsbury’s”.

Rowan continued to say that “the idea that the festivals can’t go ahead and be socially-distanced is inaccurate”, then continued to support her argument by saying… “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.

Her statements about incorporating social distancing guidelines into the fundamental set up of a festival, shows that organisers are still holding out hope for the 2021 summer events season.

Last month, the Glastonbury organisers announced that the festival would not be taking place this year, and this sparked a widespread speculation of a domino effect leading to other event cancelations.

Notting Hill Carnival organiser Matthew Phillip also spoke in the House of Commons, and said “It would be very difficult to hold Carnival in its traditional format on the streets with social distancing in place”.

Matthew then continued to say that “Carnival means too much to too many people for us to simply ignore it, so we would always try to find a way of celebrating Carnival for its artistry, and what it means to the community”.

These comments show that festival organisers understand why large scale events can’t take place while the pandemic continues to spread, but implies organisers are open minded to working with Government on finding ways to run something on a smaller scale.

In December MPs had already warned that festivals may not be able to take place in 2021, which was despite some festival organisers offering their expertise and event spaces to help with the vaccine roll-out.

It’s starting to look like a second year without summer festivals is the most likely outcome for 2021, but we have our fingers crossed that smaller events can still go ahead, and it would certainly appear that organisers are trying to find ways to work with government to make this happen.



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