The UK Government is set to discuss the return of UK festivals this week.
Following the announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that coronavirus restrictions on hospitality and crowds could ease nationally from the 21st June, the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has confirmed it will discuss the future of festivals with the UK’s Culture Minister, Caroline Dinenage, later this week.
The UK government’s Select Committee began the inquiry into the future of festivals on the 5th January this year, alongside the organisers of Parklife and Boomtown, to discuss the likelihood of events going ahead in 2021. According to a press release, the meeting this Wednesday, 24th March, will see Dinenage questioned on the Government’s plans for supporting UK festivals amid the pandemic, and what the “Government’s roadmap for lifting lockdown means for festivals and the decision-making behind plans for pilot events.”
It was announced that the Select Committee would also discuss the urgent need for Government-backed COVID-19 cancellation insurance, as well as support for freelancers and the workers further down the festival supply chain impacted by cancelled events.
In February, Rowan Cannon of festival organisers Wild Rumpus told the Select Committee that with social-distancing and appropriate safety measures, small festivals should be “as safe as Sainsbury’s”.
“The idea that the festivals can’t go ahead and be socially-distanced is inaccurate,” she continued. “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.”
Cannon’s comments come as concerns mount in the UK that festival season may be cancelled for a second year in a row due to coronavirus. In January, Glastonbury’s organisers announced that the festival would not be taking place this year, and many fear that its cancellation is just the tip of the iceberg of mass postponements expected for the year as the pandemic continues.
The future of UK festivals meeting will take place this Wednesday at 10AM. Watch it here.