Will festivals go ahead this year and when can they happen again?

25 February 2021, 11:22

Will festivals go ahead this year? (stock images)
Will festivals go ahead this year? (stock images). Picture: Getty

As Reading and Leeds confirm they will go ahead, will festivals be returning this year and when will they be allowed in 2021?

The issue of whether festivals will be able to go ahead in 2021 has been subject to much speculation in recent months, but Boris Johnson's roadmap appeared to deliver some promising news for those hoping for their return.

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While the Prime Minister didn't explicitly state that festivals will definitely happen, he did announce that all legal limits on social contact should be lifted on June 21.

This means that large events like festivals could go ahead without capacity limits.

Nothing is set in stone, however, and lockdown-lifting is subject to change.

Here's what that means for festivals.

Reading and Leeds has confirmed it will go ahead
Reading and Leeds has confirmed it will go ahead. Picture: Getty

Will festivals go ahead this summer?

Currently, it looks like some festivals will indeed go ahead this summer - but this will be subject to the restrictions easing as planned.

All legal limits on social contact is set to end on June 21, but all lockdown-lifting is subject to the following four criteria.

  1. The vaccine deployment continuing successfully
  2. There is evidence that the vaccine is effective in reducing deaths
  3. There isn't a surge in hospitalisation
  4. Assessment of risks are not fundamentally changed by new variants of Covid that cause concern

Mr Johnson said that lockdown-easing plans will be subject to 'data not dates'.

Reading and Leeds, which takes place later this summer on the August Bank Holiday weekend, recently confirmed it will go ahead.

Taking to Twitter, festival organisers wrote: "Following the government's recent announcement, we can't wait to get back to the fields this summer. LET'S GO!"

Read more: When can driving lessons resume under new lockdown rules?

Glastonbury 2021 was cancelled earlier this year
Glastonbury 2021 was cancelled earlier this year. Picture: Getty

Will festivals use 'vaccine passports'?

While it hasn't been confirmed that festivals could use 'vaccine passports', Boris Johnson said that the government would be launching a review to "consider the potential role of Covid status certification in helping venues to open safely".

According to the Telegraph, Steve Heap, general secretary of the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), said: "We are definitely encouraging our members to look at all the options for reopening covid safe festivals.

"We think rapid testing and certainly 30 minute flow tests will be very difficult to operate at the gate of a festival. But not impossible.

"However an 'on your phone proof' that you have had both Jabs would be a clear and safe way to getting our festivals back in perhaps late season 2021. Or even earlier."

According to the current trajectory, all adults in the UK will have been offered their vaccines by the end of July 2021.


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