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Planning a Music Festival in the UK for 2021, Then Read This.

Andy Robertson

Earlier this month (October 2020) various organisations got together and in conjunction with government departments have put together an essential guide for music festival organisers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance has been launched in its first iteration and will be updated monthly.  


Anyone working in the UK music festival industry can now access this guidance. It is the result of various organisations including the Ops Group of the Association Of Independent Festivals, the Association Of Festival Organisers, the Events Industry Forum and Attitude Is Everything, plus input from Public Health England and the government’s Department For Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

The guidance has been compiled in conjunction with the industry's
purple guide and covers key areas for music festival organisers to consider in planning for their 2021 event. The restrictions laid down by local authorities and government legislation will impact how a festival is organised in terms of visitor interaction and crowding, in essence the festival must comply with social distancing measure that will prevail a the time the event takes place. In the planning phase for a festival, which is now for most events taking place in 2021, the organisers should be coordinating with their local authorities now to ensure complete collaboration for all proposed safety measures. Key factors covered by the guidance cover the following key issues for organisers to consider: 

Areas for monitoring:

  • HMG laws, rules and advice and guidance, in particular on public health policy including social distancing.
  • Vaccine(s) – has a vaccine been clinically approved?
  • Testing (in advance or at the entry point to the festival).
  • Symptomatic testing (at the entry point of the festival). 
  • Antibody testing – has a clinical model been devised to show if a person has antibody protection.
  • NHS Test and Trace– how is this evolving.
  • Mutation – is COVID-19 changing.
  • Population stratification.
  • Treatment – how are treatment methods evolving.
  • International, national and local context. 

Risk Assessment.
Event organisers will be obliged to conduct a risk assessment taking account of all the factors, this assessment should be dynamic and make allowances for evolving situations.

HMG Roadmap.
The current HMG Roadmap consists of five key stages, with the fifth being fully opened to audiences. As the pandemic evolves over time the status of these key stages may well alter so organisers need to be appraised at all times of the current stage.

Health and Safety Executive and (HSE) and the Licensing laws.
There has been no change in the essence of health and safety regulations or the granting of licences.  

Event Management Plan.
The EMP usually submitted for various licence applications will still apply but organisers should add more information about measure they are taking to mitigate the risk from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Safety Measures.
As with the EMP organisers need to have robust plans in place to clearly show how they are mitigating the risk form COVD-19 in terms of detection and any potential spread of infection.

Using an events software management platform like FestivalPro live event organisers get all the functionality they need to manage their event planning and documentation. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features for managing documents related to the planning process along with an audit trail and logs of what has been signed off or is still outstanding.  

Photo by Rahul Pandit from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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