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​UK festivals risk cancellation due to "pingdemic"

Fears festival staff being ‘pinged’ by the NHS test & trace app could put festivals in danger

  • Gemma Ross
  • 26 July 2021
​UK festivals risk cancellation due to "pingdemic"

UK music festivals are in jeopardy as thousands are being told to isolate by the NHS test & trace app.

A shortage of staff workers across festivals will put many in danger of cancellation. Organisers, performers and attendees are also being "pinged" by the app, which is now being coined "pingdemic".

Read this: Clubs and festivals urged to use COVID pass by government

Those working in the music industry are now calling for government support as the summer circuit now faces mass cancellation of the remaining festivals left standing after the pandemic.

“We’ve already heard anecdotal accounts of marquee companies isolating at home because their entire team’s being pinged so they can’t actually get to the site,” said Paul Reed, chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals.

“I’ve heard of site managers getting pinged, and obviously that’s work that you can’t switch to doing remotely.”

The government has announced that after August 16, those who have been fully vaccinated will not need to isolate if they are ‘pinged’ by the app. However, this will come too late for many UK festivals.

Reed stated, “that will be too late for some members, but in any event, festivals are largely staffed by younger workers who will not be fully vaccinated by 16 August.”

On Friday, the BBC announced that over 600,000 people were told to isolate between July 8 and July 15, a 17% rise from the previous week. Despite positive cases now falling, a huge surge in numbers in previous weeks has caused a spike in self-isolation notifications.

Read this next: Houghton Festival has cancelled for the third year in a row

More than half of UK festivals have been cancelled this year due to the pandemic. With a lack of government-backed insurance for music events, organisers are now calling for immediate action from the government.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowdens said that the government would look into insurance schemes, but made no firm promises.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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