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COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

As music festivals tentatively emerge from the coronavirus pandemic announcing dates for late summer 2021 it is vital for festival organisers to create a risk assessment prior to their festival dates. This assessment is going to be a key part of the planning process and will act as part of the contingency plan for COVID-19 related issues.          


Most music festival organisers are creating contingency plans for their events running in 2021 and incorporating them into their overall planning process. Part of those contingency plans should contain a specific COVID-19 risk assessment that can be applied to all individuals working on the festival including festival staff, volunteers, artists, contractors, vendors and all visitors. What are the key elements to consider when creating a COVID-19 risk assessment for a forthcoming music festival?

Identify Risks and Hazards. 
Each individual visiting any music festival venue site should answer questions to help identify risks and hazards and these can include: 

  • Working in or travelling in close proximity to others.
  • Direct exposure to COVID-19.
  • Displaying symptoms for COVID-19 or testing positive.
  • Handling equipment, instruments or touching any other surface.      

Actions to Counter Risks.
Music festival organisers should be following all government issued venue guidelines as a matter of course but to minimise risks the following actions should be taken: 

  • Social distancing in performance areas and whilst moving around the venue site plus minimising joint handling of phones and walkie talkies.
  • Cleaning and sanitising all seats, surfaces likely to be touched plus equipment and instruments.
  • Advising all individuals to avoid touching surfaces and wearing gloves where appropriate plus carrying sanitiser and suitable wipes for instruments, equipment and surfaces for example.
  • Regular checks for symptoms.
  • Provision of advice on safe travel to and from the festival site. 
  • Issue festival site guidelines for all staff and individuals likely to be on-site.
  • Ensure that there is a back-up plan to replace performance artists, key contractors and volunteers should any display symptoms or test positive for Covid-19.

The risk assessment can be compiled by sending questionnaires out to relevant parties or asked in person on-site. It should be a dynamic process that is updated regularly every day so that appropriate actions can be taken immediately. This should mitigate the impact of any possible infection from an individual connected to the festival and working in conjunction with reliable contact tracing can minimise further spread. Using the risk assessment wisely can ensure that a music festival will proceed even if a possible infection is identified because the risk assessment allows for rapid containment. If possible, festival organisers should try and make the ongoing risk assessment available in an electronic format to avoid unnecessary staff contact with others and to enable central storage of appropriate and relevant risk assessment data.

For any event organiser planning their music festival using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their festival logistics and planning. 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 Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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