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COVID-19 Screening Protocols for UK Music Festivals in 2021.

Andy Robertson

With many large-scale music festivals confirming dates for late summer 2021 what protocols are likely to be required, either mandatory or recommended. There are several pre-entry screening solutions available for event organisers to consider, each with varying implications on cost, time delays and crowd management 


It's anticipated that by July 2021 the majority of the adult population in the UK will have received a vaccine against COVID-19. In theory it’s simple to assume that after vaccination there is almost no risk from infection but as studies have shown the vaccines are not always 100% effective and the length or any vaccine induced immunity is unknown. For these reasons it is prudent for music festival organisers to introduce pre-event screening protocols.

Vaccine Certificate Checks. 
This has been suggested by many event organisers already and some have confirmed that event goers will only be admitted to an event if they can show evidence of being given a COVID-19 vaccine. This in itself presents problems, how will organisers be able to verify the accuracy of any certificate and as with an official documentation there will be forgeries and fakes to identify too. The use of vaccine certificates either from a central database or in the form of an official document is still work in progress. If robust systems and verification process are put in place this will be the easiest way to admit event goers.

Rapid Testing.  
As an alternative, or in addition to the vaccine certificate festival organisers could consider administering a rapid test on event goers. Of course, there will be some ticket holders who do not hold a vaccine certificate anyway so a rapid test should be offered as an alternative. The World Health Organization has approved two “lateral flow” antigen tests, which display a result like a pregnancy test, are small and portable, and deliver a result in just 15-30 minutes. There are several government approved commercial suppliers of these kits available to event organisers to purchase. The kits are simple to use with clear instructions and easy-to-read results with all necessary equipment included. If buying these kits in bulk the likely cost per kit is going to be around £3. Unlike vaccine certificates which just need to be checked and verified, the test kit needs to be administered by someone and a suitably designated holding area for event goers waiting for their results needs to be created. Additional protocols will need to be implemented with strict processes in the event that a visitor tests positive.

Thermal Temperature Screening.  
Temperature screening of ticket holders at entrance gates should be implemented as a backup to the certificate and testing checks. The technology is advancing and is now capable of scanning up to 30 people simultaneously at a range of 9m. The technology simply uses a laptop, thermal imaging camera and detector with high accuracy. The operator needs to be trained to ensure accurate screening.

These protocols will likely be recommended for all large music festivals this year and organisers should be making plans for this already. They may choose to implement these protocols in-house but there will be an emerging supplier industry that can be contracted to supply these solutions too.  

For any event organiser planning their summer 2021 music festival using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their festival entrance protocols and logistics. 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 Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Image by Peggy Choucair from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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