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“You can’t have festivals with social distancing. You mass test,”

This week we heard evidence from high profile industry figures in events give evidence on the effect of Covid-19 on the sector and ways in which it would make it feasible for events, performances, and festivals to come back.

Melvin Benn, gave evidence for the festival industry as part of the DCMS hearing based on the full capacity plan campaign launched back in June which was based on testing people before they arrive at a festival or event, thereby, creating an environment where everybody in the space has been tested negative and so cant transmit the virus which stops the need for social distancing.

You will have read recently that France has re-introduced events with less than 5000 attendees without social distancing and that the campaign form event associations in the UK is continuing to gather momentum.

Although the government are awaiting a vaccine, Melvin Benn has argued that the testing process would allow everybody events to take place, he commented that he thinks that the government has a view that testing is a positive way forward however, unfortunately, what they’re not doing is sharing how that testing can work for the live entertainment sector.

As part of his evidence, Benn explained that the festival sector is worth around £2 billion revenue a year and that people go to festivals because they want more than just the music, they desire the community and that’s hugely important. 

“The impact on the customer has been phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal and we’ve seen the rise in cases of mental health that have been reported up and down the country and I do think that the absence of being able to gather in communities has contributed to that.”

The festival and events industry continue to campaign for a start date and for furlough to be extended, you can read the letter sent to the Chancellor here.

Watch the hearing and listen to the evidence given by industry figures here

To list to Melvin Benn’s evidence, click here