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Are Music Festivals a Reality for 2021?

Andy Robertson

As almost all music festivals in the UK and throughout Europe were cancelled for 2020 and moved to 2021 there are now real concerns arising if even 2021 is realistic for a full-blown return of the music festival as we know it. Just this week Larmer Tree festival announced that they will not return in 2021 and instead will focus on 2022. 

The news is full of reports of new spikes and resurgences in COVOD-19 infections just about everywhere and those hoping on a readily available vaccine are likely to be disappointed too. The media hints that optimistically a widely available vaccine could be ready sometime in Q1 2021 combined with a pandemic that just doesn’t want to ease. For the music festival industry this makes it incredibly difficult to plan with any certainty for their 2021 rescheduled events.

Event organisers need to be flexible and prepared for little change from the current situation. The EXIT festival in Serbia was almost going to be one of the few large-scale festivals to go ahead in August but was cancelled a few weeks before because a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Serbia. It is interesting to look at some of the measures EXIT was going to implement in preparation for their festival to reassure event goers.

  • Ticket buyers were offered free COVID-19 tests prior to the event so only those with negative results would be admitted.
  • Free masks were to be provided for the visitors at the entrance, as well as disinfectants at multiple points inside the venue starting from the entrance.
  • Event goers were to have access to multiple health checkpoints for body temperature measuring and registration of potential symptoms, and a separate isolation facility in case any of them shows any symptoms during the festival.
  • A state of the art contact tracing app was also to be implemented should any visitors subsequently become infected.  

Notwithstanding their capacity was going to be drastically reduced by as much as 50% the organisers of EXIT were looking at increased overheads due to more security, instalment of scanning devices and putting seats in normally unseated areas. These extreme measures, rising costs and reduced audiences are factors that music festival organisers are going to have to contend with in 2021. This is no time to be complacent thinking that things will return to anything like normal, more so for festivals planned for earlier in 2021, those with dates from September 2021 onwards may be more fortunate.

The economic fallout from this pandemic are going to be long lasting with many sectors stating that they don’t see revenues returning to 2019 levels for another four years. This may all sound like doom and gloom but those in the music festival business need to be positive and put into place multiple plans to allow for just about any scenario. 

When using a live music event software management platform like FestivalPro users get all the functionality they need to manage a range of outcomes with flexible scheduling and planning capabilities. 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 built in features that organisers can use to manage different scenarios when planning for events in 2021.   

Photo by Divyesh Maheshwari from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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