The Future Of Festivals – Will They Return In 2021?

Katie Connor

With the anniversary of lockdown feeling more like a centenary, the Prime Minister’s roadmap for a release from lockdown offers a little hope for culture-starved, Vitamin D-deprived music lovers: festivals will rise again. Katie Connor reports.

With the announcement of Reading and Leeds festivals going ahead, festival fans have finally been given the answer they’ve been waiting for, a ray of hope for 2021. But, with the dreaded coronavirus still very much in force and case numbers still in the thousands, many questions about the future of festivals still remain unanswered.

Glastonbury already announced its cancelation a few months back, so no chance remains for the legendary festival to return from its now two-year hiatus. However, other festivals which have been confirmed to be going ahead include; El Dorado, Isle Of Wight, Parklife, Creamfields, and 2000 Trees to name a few. Nevertheless, festival fans should possibly hesitate to dig out their wellies yet. According to The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) says the “2021 festival season is by no means guaranteed at this point” and that “major festivals such as Reading and Leeds are not a barometer for the whole market.”

Amongst the muddy, structurally broken tents of festival-goers, we might see a mass testing tent

The Roadmap set out by Boris which would allow these events to happen is not certain, only a plan for if things go well up until then. This means festivals may have to re-organise or even cancel at short notice, once again disappointing fans and the many people employed in the process. Supposing all goes well, however, and the festivals are given the go-ahead, how safe would it be to attend one? How would coronavirus be handled, would festival-goers need to be vaccinated or tested before attending?

The vaccination rollout programme seems to be going extremely well so far – the UK administering over 23 million doses already – and due to have given all over 18’s their first dose at least by the end of July. But with a lot of festival-goers being on the younger side of the population, it’s possible they would not be vaccinated in time for these events.

This may mean amongst the muddy, structurally broken tents of festival-goers, we might see a mass testing tent also, with attendees needing to attain a negative test in order to be admitted. When reporting on the matter the BBC have stated that “it is unclear what measures will be in place this summer,” but what is clear is that the future of festivals is looking very different to years past.

Optimistically, the return of music festivals in 2021 would be a fantastic event not only for those looking forward to attending but for people within the music and festivals industry who have been severely displaced this past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These include not only the music artists set to perform but the hundreds of thousands of people working backstage both literally and metaphorical within the industry who have lost out on over a year of work now. Hopefully, it won’t be long until those who are desperate to get in those fields again will be back, in the sweaty crowds with a luke-warm cider in hand, and this time with more hand sanitiser on deck than ever before.

Katie Connor

Featured image courtesy of Aranxa Esteve via Unsplash.  In-article image courtesy of Felipe Simo via Unsplash. No changes made to these images. Image use license found here

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