Are music festivals happening in 2021? It's the question many of us are asking as we approach the summer and wonder if outdoor events can go ahead safely despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Here's the good news: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that music festivals will be able to go ahead this summer as long as coronavirus cases, deaths and hospital admissions continue to fall. As part of the government's four-part roadmap to 'normality', music festivals – as well as nightclubs – will be able to reopen from June 21 at the earliest.
More good news for music festivals is that the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out across the UK and the rest of Europe, with the UK currently vaccinating people quicker than any other European country and that rapid COVID-19 testing is currently being trialled by the likes of Primavera Sound and will be in use at festivals this summer (the first to officially announce rapid testing is Unum in Albania). The Prime Minister has also said that rapid testing will be the key to unlock mass events.
Festivals are beginning to be announced for August and September, with smaller festivals confident that they are nimble enough to adapt to date changes and the latest safety measures in order for them to go ahead.
But there's still a long way to go before we can return to any semblance of a festival scene, so here's the bad news: Given that countries across the world are still in lockdown and battling the coronavirus, each country will have a different roadmap back to 'normality' (the Berlin Club Commission just announced that the city's nightlife won't be back to normal until the end of 2022, for instance) so it's hard to predict what the international festival circuit will look like this year; whether festivals can happen is also depending on government support. Germany has pledged to support events that are cancelled in the second half of 2021 due to the coronavirus while the UK government has been ambivalent about working harder to provide insurance indemnity for the festival industry. Size will also be a contributing negative factor, with mega festival Glastonbury cancelling for the second year in a row – however, for now, the UK does have a date to aim for and that is June 21.
Festivals in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are being announced. Organisers hope that the vaccine, rapid testing and the reduced risk of infection outdoors will mean that festivals can go head this summer. You will of course need to pack twice the amount of hand sanitiser, plenty of wet wipes and your best designer face masks.
Read on for our guide to music festivals in 2021 including a list of which ones have been announced.
Can music festivals go ahead?
In current circumstances, with the UK and Europe in lockdown, festivals cannot go ahead.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that festivals can resume from June 21, provided that the UK keeps its coronavirus infection, death and hospital admission rates down.
As it stands, the majority of music festivals are currently being announced for late August and September, with a few notable exceptions.
This is in line with the roll-out of the vaccine in Europe – the UK government has said it would like to have all adults vaccinated by the end of July and other countries such as Spain have been vocal in saying they want to get their population vaccinated while also working on opening up to tourists and using a COVID passport to help do so.
UK festival dates are also in line with the government's roadmap to 'normality', which says that nightclubs and festivals could open up from June 21.
When will music festivals return?
Major UK festivals such as Parklife, Boomtown and Eastern Electrics will happen in late August and September.
London festivals that have been announced for September include the Mighty Hoopla, Cross The Tracks and Hospitality In The Woods.
Junction 2 remains scheduled for early June while it's sister event Ion will take place in Albania in mid September.
The organisers behind Newsam Park and Mint Festival are adamant the events will happen this summer (July and September respectively).
Headroom in Wales will happen at the end of July.
Glasgow festivals TRNSMT and Riverside are set for July and September respectively.
Elsewhere in Albania, Unum will go ahead in June.
Which music festivals are still happening?
Will music festivals ever come back?
Yes. But there will likely be less festivals than usual, with the summer festival season weighted toward events happening in August and September. Festivals will also have to incorporate appropriate safety measures such as rapid testing in order to go ahead, meaning that if they do happen, festivals in 2021 will be very much part of 'the new normal'.
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