A 10,000 capacity, three-day camping festival pilot is being planned for the UK in mid-June, which will be used to determine the effectiveness of various COVID-19 protocols. 

Melvin Benn, MD of Festival Republic — the giant behind major gatherings including Leeds and Reading, Latitude and Electric Daisy Carnival in the UK — announced the proposed event on 13th May. The festival would be part of the ongoing Events Research Programme (ERP), which also included the firm’s 5,000 capacity greenfield festival test at Liverpool’s Sefton Park earlier this month. A legal warehouse club event, 4,500 people attending the BRIT Awards last week and 21,000 permitted to be at Wembley Stadium for this past weekend’s FA Cup Final have also been used to test safety and rapid COVID-19 testing pocedures for bringing events back.  

Speaking at an online conference organised by IQ Magazine, Benn expounded on the festival proposal. “It’s about testing the protocols around using Covid certification on the NHS app, and it’s also around testing the protocols of what the SAGE scientists here in the UK want, which is at-home testing for all attendees that don’t have the vaccination and are not immune. 

“It’s not like Reading or Lollapalooze Chicago or anything like that, but it’s a decent number and certainly a number that they can adequately take data from and multiply,” he continued, before clarifying where the Government’s greatest worries are in terms of reopening culture and hospitality. “The area that they are significantly most concerned about is not so much the venues, they know [the staff] will look after everybody at the venues, it is public transport. It is large amounts of people squashed with no circulation on buses coming into Glasgow city centre, or coming on tubes into Wembley Stadium. I believe that’s the area they are more concerned about, compared to the actual venues themselves, particularly outdoor venues.” 

While it has not been confirmed whether the event will take place or not, and Benn has stated that “politicians are a little more reticent” about the proposal, he intends for the festival to take place in mid-June.

Read our feature on what a return to clubs and festivals could look like in a post-pandemic world