Over the past weekend, 10,000 people attended a festival pilowithout masks or social distancing.
The organiser of Download Festival said the event was “100% evidence” that large-scale music events can take place safely amid the pandemic. Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, which staged the event, hailed the compliance of many of those in attendance with testing requirements, as scientists and the UK government hoped to use data from the event ahead of the planned full relaxation of social distancing measures next month.
In-keeping with the Great British festival summer, the pilot event, which saw Download’s usual capacity of 111,000 heavily reduced, was subject to some heavy rain. It took place across Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the past weekend.
Benn is quoted by the PA news agency as saying: “It’s extraordinary really. It’s really fantastic. I am very heart-warmed by it all.
“What is extraordinary about it is the level of compliance around the testing and requirements we have. In a way that you would expect when you are in the middle or towards the tail end of a pandemic, that level of compliance is extraordinary.”
Asked about the idea that it remains impossible for large-scale music events to go ahead and be COVID-secure, he said: “It is evidence that this is not true. It is 100% evidence that it is not true. This is a very clear demonstration that you can do it.
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