Festival Republic director, Melvin Benn believes vaccine passports will inevitably be needed for admission to future concerts, when they return. While festivals across the UK are planned, the Electric Picnic boss is unsure whether the festival will happen in Stradbally.
The Fuel The Future: The Reboot conference was held yesterday to discuss the future of the live music industry. During the webinar, Melvin said nobody knows if the annual festival to go ahead in September, following earlier, confusing reports.
The Electric Picnic boss also heads the Reading and Leeds festivals in England, which are both set to go ahead. As restrictions begin to ease, Melvin believes proof of vaccination or a COVID clear test will be necessary to enter.
“I’ll start with the UK perspective and the UK perspective is the government are hell bent on the 21st [June] being the opening day,” revealed Melvin. “I don’t think it will allow events to go ahead unrestricted, but it could allow events to go ahead with some additional mitigation controls.
“And they may be that we admit people that are vaccinated, and or tested, and I would hope that we were in a position where we would be willing to admit people into really crowded spaces that were vaccinated and tested as COVID clear,” said Melvin.
With festival planning proving difficult, Melvin believes there is an “opportunity to get open”, with the difficulty being “able to see that path clearly. And so for people like me, I have to plan as if I can, because it is much easier to pull back having planned, than pull it together at the last minute.”
Melvin believes the introduction of “vaccine passport” checks at festival gates will make people feel more comfortable entering crowded areas. He believes “in the short term, it does feel inevitable”, although, Benn thinks “maybe we would be able to lapse that”.
However, Melvin suggested “there is and will be a degree of nervousness from people to gather in crowds. If they feel that there is 20% of them that are not vaccinated or not COVID clear, for example.
“And you don’t want that in the crowd so, I think the health passport for really crowded areas is pretty likely,” said Melvin. “But I don’t necessarily think that it’s something that needs to be in place in five years time, it could be something that comes and goes as we become more at ease with the endemic nature of COVID-19.”
Hope for Electric Picnic 2021 was ignited when organisers released a statement last year on the festival’s cancellation. Organisers said they looked “forward to welcoming everyone back in 2021 for lots more fun, music, extravagance and magical moments.” However, the continuing coronavirus pandemic may keep plans of a festival in Ireland on hold for now.